Spirit of Buster Keaton will guide MBSS fall production

The inspiration for the fall production —working title “The Optimist” — is silent film

Physical comedy

Physical comedy

Barry Coulter

Mt. Baker Wild drama is taking a cue from Buster Keaton as it launches the 2015/16 dramatic season at the high school.

Two projects are in development. The inspiration for the fall production —working title “The Optimist” — is silent film, in particular the example of the great Keaton, deadpan-faced actor of the silent film era.

So a large part of it will be physical comedy, said Mary Hamilton, drama instructor and director.

Wild Drama had originally set out to do Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” about the Salem witch trials of the 17th century. But casting issues came up which entailed its cancellation.

Hamilton said a large amount of work had already gone into planning “The Crucible.” With the school year underway and not enough time for pre-production on a new choice, Hamilton felt it would be better to development their own project from scratch.

“We’re going to try to include everyone who wants to be in it,” she said.

The students started off with very basic workshopping — making faces, movements, sounds — and through this process characters start to emerge.

“Right now the project is in the ‘primordial ooze’ stage.”

Hamilton described the process as “generating material, selecting and structuring the material, rehearsing and polishing.

The developing set concept, intriguingly, includes a diving board, an in-floor trampoline, a street lamp, stairs with a platform and a fire pole, all of which will be provided by teacher David Hill’s production department.

Hamilton added that the theatrical concept incorporates the concepts of physical stunts and combat, so stay tuned — Buster Keaton is in the house.

“I’m thoroughly excited,” Hamilton said. “The students are really getting their heads around it.”

MBSS’s second production is “Mary Poppins,” of Disney and West End (London) legend.

“It’s a spectacle,” Hamilton said. “But it is also a story with a lot of depth.”

Watch for the Townsman to provide  theatrical updates as they present themselves.