“Tarzan of the Apes” joins radio and live action in the jungle

“Tarzan of the Apes,” performed on Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m., was presented in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University. The show was performed through broadcasts on the radio, in front of a live audience. Through this unfamiliar and unique form of entertainment, the audience experienced the classic tale of Tarzan.

During Act 1, Introduction to “Also Sprach Zorathustra” was performed by an orchestra, with Bruce H. Frazier, the conductor and composer, as well as the director of the actors. The next piece, performed by the orchestra, was “Mars: The Bringer of War” from “The Planets.”

After the suspenseful music, dancers performed, with the orchestra, a piece called “The Young Prince and Princess,” a ballet about true love and obstacles that get in the way.

After the ballet, another song called the “End Titles”from “John Carter of Mars” was performed by the orchestra.

Act 1 ended with a powerful performance by soloist Dan Cherry and other singers. For the first song Cherry sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “The Circle of Life” by Elton John from Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Hunter King, sophomore with a major in math education, expressed how much he enjoyed the songs and stated, “Two words, Dan Cherry.”

Another praise went towards Don Connelly, the narrator of the show and head of the communications department.

“I thought it was pretty good, and Don Connelly I knew was not going to disappoint,” said Miles Olson, senior with a major in communications.

“Tarzan of the Apes” began after Act 1 introduction, and the show was on air from that moment on. Throughout the broadcast there was a narrator telling the story of Tarzan and actors performing the characters from the novel. Some of the performers had the difficult task of playing two different roles at once, but each actor transitioned smoothly from one character to the other. A listener would have a difficult time hearing the differences among the actors, because the actors camouflage the voices so well to match the characters.

Along with the talented actors, voicing each line, were sound effects, which were produced on stage with the live orchestra. The sound effects consisted of jungle noises, shots from a fire arm, a Tarzan yell and animal calls, all of which took the audience into the jungle of Africa. The sound effects created actions like chopping wood or fighting gorillas in the jungle. Each actor had to pay special attention to the director for cues, which assisted them to come in on time. The actors also had to work together with the orchestra’s music.

The lighting was another key component in creating the setting for the show. The entire background of the stage was lit with green shaped designs, to resemble the jungle’s vegetation.

According to Coty Keziah, senior with a major in English a concentration in film studies, “I thought it was pretty good, very interesting and fun to watch.”

Jake Myres, a sophomore with a major in communications, stated, “Very well done, liked it a lot. It was very well rehearsed and a good show overall.”

In the past, the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center has also hosted “A Christmas Carol” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” For more information about the Center and future shows, call (828) 227-2479.