KOKOMO, Ind. — Elves, fairies, trolls, and more feature in a re-imagined production of The Mikado, which takes the stage March 31 – April 2 in Indiana University Kokomo’s Havens Auditorium.
Director Wendy Grice, senior lecturer in music, said she and co-director Garry Grice changed the setting from Japan to the forests of Middle Earth to be able to offer Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta in a culturally appropriate way.
“We had to find the right way to do it,” she said. “The Mikado is the jewel in the crown of their comedies. It’s hilarious, and the music is amazing and challenging for our performers.”
The fanciful character names lent themselves to translate easily into Middle Earth, the setting of much of English writer J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy fiction, including The Lord of the Rings.
The Mikado transformed into a Gandalf-like character, with other characters becoming fairies, butterflies, a dragonfly, and other Middle Earth inhabitants.
Dezy Dagey, a junior from Tipton, said she would have been uncomfortable in the original Japanese costumes, but enjoys playing her character Pitti Sing as a fairy.
“I think this is a great revival of The Mikado,” she said. “What we have done with it shows how much we care about making it OK for everyone, and more enjoyable to watch the quips and funny remarks. You really have to be watching and listening to get them, and those make the entire show.”
Senior Molly Lewis, Kokomo, is excited to play the part of the fairy Yum Yum, saying that Middle Earth is “one of my favorite things.” She especially enjoys the bright colors of the costumes and sets.
“The set is like a picture frame, and you’re stepping into what the characters are living,” she said. “The cast has worked really hard to provide a great experience to people. This show is funny and timeless.”
Amelia Bault, who is cast as a butterfly, appreciates the show’s comedy.
“It’s a funny show,” the Logansport resident said. “There are some quips that if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss them. You really have to be on your toes in the audience.”
Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2 in Havens Auditorium. Tickets are available at the door, and are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and free for children 6 and younger.