Familiar script, fresh faces: Bomber Theatre announces cast for “Wiley and the Hairy Man”

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MHHS Bomber News Network

Brianna Ifland, Editor/Reporter

Last night, Tuesday, August 24, Bomber Theatre announced the cast list for the 2021 fall production: Wiley and the Hairy Man. This will be the first play that director Karen Maupin has repeated in nineteen years. Though it’s a familiar script, the cast and crew are full of fresh faces. 

“There definitely is some pressure, but overall [the fact we’re repeating a play] is really helpful!” says freshman and chorus member Julianna Pickers. “Mrs. Maupin can use past notes from the last production to help improve the current [one].”

Students walk across the stage in varying styles during the audition’s movement portion.

The auditions were a little unconventional. As opposed to preparing a short monologue or doing cold reads, actors worked in groups. They did physical work– skipping, pantomimes, etc. Then, they made soundscapes representing the swamp the play is set in. Afterward, they read excerpts from the script that had been posted on their Instagram (@troupe6560) the Friday prior.

“This drama is a spine-tingling tale of a boy and his worst fears in the swamp,” says Dramatic Publishing, “eventually overcome by Wiley himself. Set deep within the mysterious Tombigbee Swamp, Wiley and the Hairy Man centers around a young fatherless boy, his conjure-woman mother, his faithful dog, and the Hairy Man who haunts Wiley’s days and dreams.” 

The titular character Wiley will be played by junior Cayden Sabella, who has been involved with Troupe for around three years now. His most recent role was Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. His trusted companion– Dog– will be portrayed by freshman Elijah Williams. This will be William’s first play– but hopefully not the last. 

Brianna Ifland– senior and president of troupe 6560– will be playing the “conjure-woman mother,” Mammy, and the Hairy Man will be junior Dallin Stephens.

“The magic of this play is not fairy dust, it is soil—the magic of survival, the magic of the earth and the mud of the swamp.”

— Dramatic Publishing

“Through rhythm and rhyme,” continues Dramatic Publishing, “a chorus creates the mystery of the swamp. The magic of this play is not fairy dust, it is soil—the magic of survival, the magic of the earth and the mud of the swamp. In an exciting duel of wits, Wiley learns to rely upon his own resources and conquers two villains: the Hairy Man and his own fear.”

The mystical chorus will be portrayed by the following: 

Aidan Wilson, Reagan Brawner, Trevi Sheaner, Joia Traver, Sierra Trogdon, Caelei Stanton, Audrey Young, Rachel Chamberlin, Julianna Pickers, and Jaden Barnes. 

Chorus member and Troupe Vice President Sierra Trogdon says, “I am truly so excited to be a part of this chorus. It is completely unique to any ensemble I have been in and I can’t wait to see how the play unfolds.”

The production team is nothing to look past, either. The play is full of magic and mystery, and translating a spell to the screen is far different from that of the stage. Senior Taylor Schumacker will be stage managing. Schumacker has been involved with Bomber Theatre since her sophomore year, but first stage managed during last year’s spring production (Thoroughly Modern Millie). 

“[Taylor] never fails to be on time and get things done!” says Pickers, “She’s an excellent stage manager, and I’m looking forward to what she does in this year’s production.” 

Junior Olivia Martin will be heading lighting design. Due to the play’s magical elements and smaller cast, there’ll likely be a heavier emphasis on the technical aspects of this go-around compared to previous years or shows. 

The rest of the technical crew is as follows:

Sound/QLab: Noah Ireland

Stage Crew: Mia Green, Christian Young, Sarah Montelongo, Charlie Stroup

Makeup Design & Crew: Ella Dover, Abbey Belletiere, Jasmine Quinn

House Management Team: Landon Witt, Hannah Carlisle, Kaylee Ellison

“I have been doing makeup for almost four years now… including special effects,” says freshman Jasmine Quinn. “[However,] this is my first year in theatre. I really have no experience in that category… Being new in theatre seems scary, but… everyone [here] is accepting and wonderful. [Joining] theatre has been the best choice I made this year.”

Performances will be on October 7-9, the first of which will consist of school performances for students likely within grades 3-6. The latter dates will be open to the public, and ticketing information is TBA; however, it’s likely Bomber Theatre will be using Ludus, the same website they used last year.