COLLEGEVILLE – Perkiomen Valley Middle School East’s production of “Mulan” will bring a touch of Chinese culture to the area when it is performed Feb. 28 through March 2 in the Spahr Auditorium.
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 2. Tickets (reserved seating) are $8 in advance, and may be ordered by going to the Middle School East web page, printing the ticket order form and sending it to the attention of Kathy Gittelman at Perkiomen Valley Middle School East, 100 Kagey Road, Collegeville, PA 19426.
The production is based on the Chinese folk tale of Mulan, a young woman who is the only child in her family. When a war breaks out, each family is required to send a male into battle. Because Mulan’s father is elderly and ill, she disguises herself as a man and takes his place on the battlefield.
Director Kathy Gittelman noted that “Mulan” was the perfect choice for this year’s production, given the district’s emphasis on cultural diversity.
“Here at East, we have a legacy of choosing spring musicals, in part, for their messages – the themes and lessons we can reinforce with our students before they strap on their armor and leave for their next field of battle on their way to adulthood. In that regard, ‘Mulan’ is as close to ideal as any show we could have chosen,” she said. “We want to impart to our students that no matter what they look like, what color they are, how old they are, or what ethnic background they are, they can be a hero.”
The production is also an opportunity for students to learn from people of Chinese descent in the PV community. A Chinese relative of students involved in the production has helped to ensure that the costuming is authentic, and a local Chinese restaurant has agreed to provide Asian food and a lesson in using chop sticks for the cast party.
Mrs. Gittelman, who has studied the Chinese martial art of tai chi for many years, has incorporated tai chi yang style short form into the choreography. The cast has also talked quite a bit about the philosophical concept of yin and yang throughout the production.
Perkiomen Valley Middle School East is located at 100 Kagey Road in Collegeville.