MacTheatre shoots for the stars

Fall musical “Starmites” starts the theatre season


MITE TIME: The Starmites, played by juniors Javier Garcia, Sam Richter, Duval Bingham look at their leader Spacepunk, played by junior Tosh Arora as he sings M’lady. Photo by Jazzabelle Davishines

Gregory James, photo editor

MacTheatre’s fall musical was out of this world … literally.

In Starmites, Eleanor, a shy teenager, finds herself summoned into a science fiction fantasy world of her own creation called Innerspace. Innerspace is also the setting of her favorite comic book. In Innerspace, she meets the Starmites, who are the guardian angels of this world, and they implore her to join them on their crusade against the Cruelty, an evil instrument with mind controlling powers, owned by but separated from the villain Shak Graa. The musical is based on a book by Stuart Ross and debuted in 1989 on Broadway.

McCallum students started rehearsing the show on Aug. 6 with six-hour rehearsals Monday through Friday until school began. According to junior Duval Bingham, who played one of the Starmites named Diggity “Razzle Dazzle,” the long rehearsal hours paid off because the show was ready to run earlier than usual.

“We already have been through a full run through,” Bingham said before the show opened. “We usually don’t go through a full runthrough until the day before a show opens. This time around we did a full run through two weeks before.”

Juniors Maryanna Tollemache and Madisyn Andrews-Moreno were double cast in the lead role of Eleanor. For both actors, the role was the first time they had performed as a lead actor in a MacTheatre production.

SHOOTING FOR THE STAR(MITE)S: The other lead actor playing Eleanor, Maryanna Tolemache, sits with her mother on earth, played by Lilah Guaragna. Photo by Gregory James.

Prior to its MacTheatre run, the show had a six-show run on Broadway in 1989 and had never been performed since on a major stage. But Andrews-Moreno said before the show opened that the show’s obscurity has been a positive for her.

“This show being so crazy, having so many twists in it, has been a lot of fun to make the character and put my own personality into it and make Eleanor me.”

The two actors playing Eleanor also played a second character, Bizarbra, who is a parallel of Eleanor in Innerspace. During the show, Andrews-Moreno and Tollemache had to run off stage and change costumes quickly to be ready for back-to-back scenes as Eleanor and then as Bizarbara. Eleanor and Bizarbara are polar opposites in terms of personality and confidence. Bizarbara is self-conscious and pessimistic, and she looks up to Eleanor for her leadership ability once she is in Innerspace. Bizarbara has a nasally voice and believes she will never be good enough to do something important. Eleanor can be a great leader but has to have people push her to greatness. Eleanor wants to live in Innerspace, and Bizarbara wants to live on Earth.

The show’s supporting characters are integral parts of the story. Junior Tosh Arora plays SpacePunk, who is the leader of the Starmites and the love interest of Eleanor.

“My favorite part of this show has been working with my ‘Mites, which are the three Starmites that I am the leader of,” Arora said. “They are all my friends, and it is great to work and play with them.”

Starmites means to me the ability to embrace individuality and creativity. The story is very accepting of everyone even though you may be different or quirky.

— Lilah Guaragna

The villain Shak Graa is an evil character brought to life by senior Matt Hernandez. He is out to get the Cruelty, his weapon, back and rule all of Innerspace. He torments Eleanor in her dreams at the beginning of the show and pulls her into the realm of Innerspace.

“It is fun because even though he is a evil character, he’s a fun evil character,” Hernandez said.

Eleanor’s mother is another key role in Starmites, whose Innerspace alter ego is Diva, the Goddess of Innerspace. The show has the role double cast between juniors Abigail Lerma and Lilah Guaragna.

“I loved the role of the diva,” Guaragna said. “I thought it was so fun, and I thought the vocals were incredible, so I was super ecstatic when I got the role.”

Guaragna, who has been in many MacTheatre performances, said she has a methodical way of getting into character.
“I normally stand backstage before I go on, take a deep breath, and I think about why I’m doing what I am doing in that scene.” Guaragna said. “Then I think about my personality and how I act, and the combination of those two will help me be prepared for the scene.”

Guaragna feels this show was unique to others McCallum has done. The characters all hold complex personalities and have things that make them special. In the end, Starmites is a story of acceptance and friendship
“Starmites means to me the ability to embrace individuality and creativity,” Guaragna said. “The story is very accepting of everyone even though you may be different or quirky.”

RAVENOUS:The other lead actor playing Eleanor, Maryanna Tolemache, sits with her mother on earth, played by Lilah Guaragna. Photo by Gregory James.

On Sunday, after eight shows over two weekends, the portal between Innerspace and Earth closed for good, and Starmites completed its run at McCallum. The next McCallum show is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the classic Shakespearean comedy about the duke of Athens and the supernatural forces that conspire to intefere with his wedding. It opens on Nov. 8 and tickets for the show can be purchased on