Friday, April 13, 2018

Jordan Small's production of Mary Poppins, Jr. by Matt Pascarella

Sydney Brackett as Mary Poppins
One of the most famous nannies of stage and screen visited the Jordan Small Middle School on April 6 and 7; as they put on a wonderful performance of “Mary Poppins Jr.”.
In Act One we meet the Banks family: an overwhelmed mother, bratty children and a careless father. They are in desperate need of a nanny and, just as if she heard their cries, Mary Poppins appears. 

Mary teaches the children proper manners and behavior and that anything is possible (with maybe a little magic). Everyone loves Mary as is evidenced by Bert, the kindly chimney sweeper who is telling the story and the cast singing about her in the park. At the end of the first act, after some trouble at his job, Mr. Banks is worried he’ll be fired. 

The second act features Mary Poppins extending a hand to the distraught Mr. Banks and his wife. Thankfully, Mr. Banks does not get fired and Mary uses her magic to teach him to become a better, caring father who is willing to fly kites with his eager son. Mary then leaves and because of her lessons, the Banks family is able to get along without her. 

The crew used an abstract scenic concept to frame the narrative through Bert’s drawings as a sidewalk chalk artist. The fireplace flames and family portrait are drawn in chalk. Also, when Mary Poppins is present, there is more color on stage. Additionally, the props used in the play, such as an antique telephone and typewriter and the chimney sweep’s bristle all add to the feel of that time period. 

The larger than life characters are portrayed very well. Seventh grader, Sydney Brackett’s portrayal of Mary Poppins was phenomenal. Her soft voice (never yelling) and her can-do attitude embodies the qualities of who Mary Poppins is. The quick stage changes move the story smoothly from scene to scene. The cast’s recreation of classic songs like “Spoonful of Sugar”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” give the performance that extra special feeling.

Bert (Sorcha Salmon), Mary Poppins (Sydney Brackett), Michael (Noah Campbell) and Jane (Evianna Merriam) fly kites in the park
From the singing, dialogue and set design, “Mary Poppins Jr.” was not an easy production to perform; but everyone who contributed: staff, students and community members, produced an excellent portrayal of a well-known classic.

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