Recently FPD Theatre’s One-Act Production took home second place at the Area Competition and is now heading to the state level on November 3. The cast beautifully portrays of Chinese folklore through the show 9 Dragons. We wanted to touch base with two of the cast members, Hannah Ferguson and Ben Huggins, to get their take on FPD theatre and this production in particular.
In what grade did you start performing at FPD?
Hannah – I started performing at FPD in the third grade with the show The Wizard of Oz. I played a Munchkin and a Winkie.
Ben – I started performing at FPD in third grade as a part of the ensemble in the elementary play Robin Hood.
What has been your favorite production and role so far?
Hannah – My favorite production at FPD was Titanic: the Musical because I loved the music and how well the story of the Titanic was portrayed. My favorite role would have to be Attina in the Little Mermaid because there were a lot of fun numbers that I was a part of.
Ben – My favorite role and production in the theatre program thus far has to be Jacey Squires, a member of the Barbershop Quartet in Music Man, last year’s spring musical. I played the high tenor, which meant that while everyone else was singing something relatively in their range, I was up in the stratosphere!
Why do you like FPD’s performing on stage and being a part of FPD’s theatre program?
Hannah – FPD’s theatre program is unique. Dr. Strickland provides an environment in which theatre is not just about putting on a show. It is also about learning how to develop and use our talents through different styles of productions in order to glorify the Lord. I have learned many different approaches to acting and, through this, different approaches to relationships with others in my community.
Ben – I grew up watching my two older sisters perform, so FPD Theatre has sort of become a family tradition. Dr. Strickland has taught us everything we know today about the arts and how to use it as a means of expressing ourselves in a creative way.
What is your role in 9 Dragons and how would you describe the character?
Hannah – My role in 9 Dragons is Grandmother Elder of the Makai. She is the character that represents the people of the Makai and, despite her Elder status, oftentimes seems pretty naive.
Ben – I play the role of Pi Hai [PEE-HI], the orator dragon, who is extremely wordy and a little full of himself.
In relation to 9 Dragons, what is the most challenging part of the play?
Hannah – The most challenging part of 9 Dragons is the fact that the show is movement oriented and does not involve entirely naturalistic acting. While still staying true to our characters, we have to create larger than life actions and reactions in order to bring this Chinese folktale to life.
Ben – The most challenging part of the production, in my opinion, is the physicality of the dragons. After every run, my knees are killing me from bending over for the entire show.
What do you think about the costumes?
Hannah – The costumes for 9 Dragons are beautiful. Instead of completely dressing like dragons, they are dressed in traditional Hanfu clothing, adding to the cultural background of the show.
Ben – The costumes are amazing, but they’re hard to move in. However, if they look great on stage, then nothing else really matters!
What do you love most about this play?
Hannah – I love that 9 Dragons is completely different than any other one act show we have done in the past. We as a cast are able to push ourselves in a new way in order to convey a story to the audience. The story and meaning of the play is beautiful and I am so happy that I could play a part in telling it.
Ben – I love the cast so much. They’re like a second family to me and they have been for the last eight years.