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A Jolly Holiday with Mary

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Cast members of “Mary Poppins,” the musical, sang and danced in front of a sold-out house Friday and Saturday night. The production aimed to emphasize the importance of family. “The message of the show is looking beyond yourself, and your own needs, and your own concerns, and you’re part of a bigger world. You’re part of a community and you’re part of a family,” said Cameron Abaroa, a senior in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona, who co-stars as Mr. George Banks. “It’s a really important message for today and one I think will ring with an LDS audience. That’s what we’re taught that life’s all about the family. Having a father and a mother in equanimity raising children together.”Mary Poppins, played by Kaylee Buss, a senior in music from Colorado, flies to the aid of Jane and Michael Banks, two children struggling with the habit of throwing tantrums and running nannies out of the house. Their real struggle, however, is love. Jane and Michael have a hard time seeing their parents as people, people who need love. “Were you ever a little boy, father?” asks Michael in the play, sparking laughter from the audience, but a sadness in Mr. Banks whose hard childhood, a product of Nanny Andrews’ “brimstone and treacle” treatment, has turned him into a bitter, unhappy adult. To teach the children about seeing the humanity in their parents, and everyone else they meet, Mary Poppins sings “Feed the Birds” with Jacosa Limutau-Ainu, who played the bird woman in the BYUH production. Not only does Mary Poppins teach the children to be better, but she also teaches Mr. and Mrs. Banks what should be their roles and priorities with help from Bert, played by Doug Bush, a senior business major from California. Bert sings, “You’ve got to grind, grind, grind at that grindstone. Though childhood slips like sand through a sieve. And all too soon they’ve up and grown, and then they’ve flown.” These lyrics inspire a change of heart in Mr. Banks. The audience saw this change as Mr. Banks embraced fatherhood by flying a kite with his son, Michael, at the end of the play.Through the music in “Mary Poppins,” the audience can experience the characters’ changes more deeply than just a cut and dry list of their changes. “Mr. Banks learns the importance of his family, Winifred finds her place as a mother, and the children find out how hard life is for their parents so they start becoming supports and helps for their parents and you really see the creation of a family unit,” Abaroa said. Abaroa said he has a testimony of the power of music and theatre, paraphrasing a quote from Brigham Young who said if he were sent to a cannibal island and tasked with the education of the natives he would not build a school, but a theatre. The power of the arts cannot be understated, especially at an LDS school built in the name of a man who was an actor himself, said Abaroa. Michaela Bayona, an assistant director for “Mary Poppins,” and sophomore in English from California, said, “There’s something about a show that’s just so magical. There’s just this crazy high you get, a performance high, that’s just so beautiful.” “Mary Poppins’” audience fed off that high three nights in a row this past week as seats were filled by students, faculty, and community members to be entertained and inspired by the family focus of the production. Uploaded Feb. 26, 2015.
Writer: Alyssa Walhood