Xtreme theatre presents Tarzan
by Brianna Deutsch
There’s something powerful when the realms of theatre and faith collaborate – it moves beyond art, to become a platform for changed lives. Xtreme Theatre does just that. It is a theatre program specifically for homeschooled children in the Lower Mainland, ages five through 17. The founder of Xtreme Theatre, Wendy Holm, began the company because she realized there was a lack of theatre for homeschooled children in the community. The premise is that “homeschooled children can meet each week to explore the theatre world, where (they) could have Christian values,” explains Holm.
Xtreme Theatre has grown from 18 children to now over 130. With outstanding performers and directing, captivating choreography, intricate costumes and detailed sets, it is easy to understand how this company of homeschooled children is garnering so much enthusiastic participation.
These are some of the reasons why this year’s director for Xtreme Theatre’s production of Tarzan, Cody Friesen, got involved. Friesen has been a part of Xtreme Theatre’s team for three years (he has directed plays with Xtreme Theatre and Trinity Western University). The story is about Tarzan, a man who is raised by apes in the African Wilderness. He then meets Jane and begins to realize who he is, and becomes torn between staying with the apes and living among civilization. This theme of “living in two worlds is relevant in todays culture,” says Friesen. “We put labels and identities onto people rather than accepting them, and living and walking life with each other. Christ calls us to live in community, not live separately. It’s breaking down the walls that Jane wants to be with Tarzan. It’s this essence of finding where you and I belong and fit in the world. Tarzan paints a beautiful picture of finding your home,” continues Friesen.
This story of security and acceptance is brought to life with two casts. The production team invests coaching and mentorship to children so that they “believe what they are saying when on stage.” In addition, Xtreme Theatre also focuses on encouraging and strengthening the children’s abilities by working together as a team and creating a secure environment where students can grow and develop. Aesthetically, Xtreme Theatre has broadened it’s creativity in Tarzan by implementing African dancing, a wide-scale set that includes a vine, and costumes that have taken multiple hours to complete. With ample energy invested into the production, Xtreme Theatre’s Tarzan promises to mesmerize all in the audience, from children to adults. Tarzan is not only a musical, it’s an “adventure and life-changing” experience combined into one.
Tarzan is being held at the ACT theatre in Maple Ridge and is running May 13 through May 16 at 7 pm, with a 2 pm matinee on the 16th. Tickets are $16 and can be purchased at theactmapleridge.org/Tarzan