Dublin Villager

'Mulan, Jr.' to be presented at Dublin Coffman

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Ariel Glassman and Maria Gilfillan rehearse Monday, Oct. 15, for Dublin Coffman Hgh School's upcoming performance of Mulan, Jr.

The story of a young woman who saves her family and eventually a country will take the stage of Coffman High School Oct. 19, 20, 25 and 27.

Mulan Jr. is one of the Coffman High School drama club's smaller productions, but Director Dan Stowell said it packs a punch.

"It's a super story line," he said. "It's about a girl who makes a difficult choice to go against tradition."

The musical with the cast of 24 is similar to the Disney movie, but Stowell said the students take a more existential approach to the story.

"It's about the heart of a woman and the responsibilities of a woman and wife thrust upon you," Stowell said.

In the story, Mulan is deemed unfit for marriage, which is considered shameful for her family.

When her father is called to war, Mulan goes in his place disguised as a man. Mulan makes friends during training and eventually saves the army from the Huns, but in the process is revealed to be a woman.

Mulan is forced to leave the army, but on her way home she discovers the Huns are planning to kill the Emperor. She returns to the army to try to stop their plan.

The musical Coffman will stage has less fighting than the movie and more of a chance to get to know Mulan who is played by two students during different performances, Stowell said.

To keep the focus on the story, Stowell said the set and costumes will be simple.

"Instead of looking at costumes, we'll look at what does it mean to be a person? What does it mean to be a woman? The costumes are very simple gray and black," he said.

"It's super simple ... so people think about the story and Mulan's journey of self discovery."

Lessons about Chinese culture were part of preparations for the musical.

A few special guests were brought in to speak with students, including Tai Chi instructors, Stowell said.

"We incorporated some movements (the Tai Chi instructor) taught the kids into the show," he said.

This is the first time Coffman High School will stage Mulan Jr., but Stowell said it's an appropriate show for the community.

"One thing that drew me to the show is Dublin in the last 20 years has changed from a very homogeneous place to a burgeoning cultural center," he said.

"It's a fun show to begin with, but it also explores culture outside of where the community has been."

Mulan Jr. will be staged at 7 p.m. Oct. 19, 20, 25 and 27. The drama club will hold a special drama camp for elementary and middle school students that includes a matinee they participate in at 2 p.m. Oct. 27.

Tickets for the show are $7 and $5 for students.