Mulan Returns

R-MA’s drama group put on Mulan as our annual autumn play. Nearly the entire school attended at least one performance of the play, and the general consensus was: What an amazing show! Everything from the scenery to the actors was truly incredible. The scenery was beautiful and made use of the whole stage. The crew managed to make Melton Gymnasium feel like ancient China, and they serenaded the audience with music and surprised them with props and special effects that seemed straight out of Broadway. 

Gillian Rydholm ‘18 as Mulan was no surprise, starring in last year’s performance as Cinderella and blowing us away yet again this year. Her soft, gentle voice was a perfect contrast with her strong character. Rydholm described her own performance as “a moment that will define my R-MA legacy.” She said it was an emotional performance, as this is her last year in the drama program. Two freshman played main roles as well in this performance, Izzy Spencer ’21 as Mushu and Sardor Danier ‘21 as Captain Shang.

Spencer’s fun and playful attitude fit perfectly with Mushu’s sarcastic, witty character. Danier’s shy and reserved mood turned a complete volte-face as he stepped onto stage and commanded the cast to fall in and march into battle. Danier’s singing was something no one expected but quite enjoyed. Other young students, such as James Ross ‘20, Kisyl Housden ‘21, and Mary Bowman ‘21, impressed the audience when they delivered their lines and sang their numbers with ease and elegance. 

The entire performance was enjoyable for both the actors and the audience. Donavan Heggs ‘21 described the show as “sensational” and enjoyed the emotional impact of the characters. He appreciated the military aspect and found it relatable when he noticed the soldiers lose their military bearing. Many students found the military aspect relatable, including Trey Shuford, a Falcon Scholar who described the bond between the soldiers as similar to the bond between him and his fellow Falcons.

Mrs. Kim Cramer was the director of the play. Mrs. Cramer told us that only four of the twenty-six actors in the play had participated in an R-MA drama production in the past; however, everyone was dedicated to the project and Cramer is proud of their commitment and willingness. The R-MA drama club performed Mulan once before, in 2012. However, it was performed in the Little Theatre. Cramer stated, “Taking this new production to Melton gym’s stage allowed us to expand the cast, build a stellar set, and create special effects that just weren’t possible in the other space.” No one can state which production was “better,” but they were both fantastic productions.

The scenery was well done, and one of the favorite full-stage scenes was the avalanche scene. The crew surprised the entire audience when a rumbling began and suddenly white confetti flew into the audience. The scene was magical and perfectly done. Kathleen Fedzer ‘18 leaned over to me right afterwards and simply said, “This is amazing!” The play was emotional, touching, comedic, and truly fascinating. “A mix of familiar faces and stand-up comedy mashed into one magical performance,” stated Shuford (‘18). From the costume details to the perfect casting, the play was simply wonderful. Or as Spencer put it: “It was pretty lit.”