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55 students, three shows, one musical

Chorus members practice one of the opening numbers of "Once on This Island." Chorus members actually spend more time onstage than some of the principal characters in this production. The group can't leave the island, after all.1 / 4
Kya Bertram plays Asaka, god of nature, in "Once on This Island," will Twin Bluff Middle School will stage at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Rachel Fergus / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 4
Twin Bluff Middle School actors portraying Mama Euralie (Deyahni Cooper), Tonton (Evan Nelson) and Ti Moune (Elaine Borgschatz) rehearse on Monday afternoon for "Once on This Island."3 / 4
The cast rehearses for opening night, which is 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at Twin Bluff Middle School.4 / 4

As the school day ended on Monday, Oct. 29, the Twin Bluff Middle School auditorium became alive as 55 students replaced their backpacks and school clothes with tropical shirts, skirts and dresses in preparation for a rehearsal of "Once on This Island, Junior."

After costumes were tied, zipped or pinned the rehearsal began.

The first order of business was practicing the final number of the performance, which includes two-part harmony, before the students all took the stage.

Once the performers were on stage, they ran through the musical, stopping frequently to allow the tech crew to match what was happening on stage with sound and lighting. Throughout the play, there is thunder, lightning, and numerous other effects that add to what is being sung and acted-out on stage.

When students were not practicing a scene they were able to wait backstage or amongst the coats, school work and lunch boxes in the auditorium — items that will not have seats during the actual performances.

Kya Bertram sat in the auditorium as she waited for the next scene with her character: Asaka, the god of nature. When Bertram auditioned for the musical, she hoped that she would be cast as one of the four gods because, she explained, they are a main part of the musical's plot and are really interesting.

Bertram's role as Asaka is her debut theater performance. She explained that her friends encouraged her to try-out. "I was really shy at first, (but) whenever I got into character it was like, 'BOOM,' I'm here," said Bertram.

The musical will be performed at the school at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. Students attend free; the suggested donation for adult audience members is $5.