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Review of Mulan, Jr. at Prana

by Ceci LeBeau
May 5, 2017

If you aren't already going to the acclaimed "Proof" by the Washington Street Players this weekend, and want a family friendly alternative, look no further than Prana Production's Mulan Jr, with shows left tonight and tomorrow. The Disney animated hit about a strict Chinese culture that has to give way to the new is played out with fabulous costumes and a huge cast.

Mulan is a tomboy who disappoints her family by failing to meet the standards of the local matchmaker. As played admirably by Jenna Goldman, she has too much spunk to be the obedient, submissive potential bride. Her ancestors, brilliantly played above and behind the action like a Greek chorus, dress in pure white and primly remind the audience that above all, honor must be maintained. As in "Fiddler on the Roof," tradition must be upheld, as these cultural norms are "Written in Stone."

When war threatens, the Fa family must send one man to fight. Because her father is too frail to serve in the army, Mulan disguises herself as a boy and runs off to take his place. There are a few humorous moments, like when a fellow soldier suggests they play "strip Mah Jong." The riot of color in the kimonos of the groomers, hairdressers and dressmakers give way to the somber browns of the soldiers. Jason Stokes, as the captain, is fierce and uncompromising. The soldiers sing of someday finding a "girl worth fighting for." The Hun leader, as played by Zoe Rosen, stomps on stage with two sidekicks in savage-worthy furs and wild wigs.  Mulan saves the day by shouting out and causing an avalanche to bury the dreadful enemy. Claudia McMahon almost steals the show as an impish red dragon, wise cracking away as she advises Mulan. In the end the Emperor is saved when the soldiers disguise themselves as girls and sneak into the palace.

This girl power theme comes to a climax when both the Ancestors and Mulan's parents and grandmother look on in approval as she is honored for her bravery and courage. She has made a new tradition, and girls in her village can now look forward to a new role model. The entire cast sings joyously, even the adorable K-3 ensembles in their red and yellow frocks. There are 46 of them alone. This ancient tale rings as true today as it would have a thousand years ago. Don't miss the energy and pageantry of "Mulan."

                                                                                                                                                                            

The vicious Huns. Left, Riley Greendale, grade 5, Zoe Rosen, grade 7, Maeve McDermott, grade 4

 

Claudia McMahon, Holliston 6th grader

 

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