From a delightfully clueless dodo bird to a loving lion, Michael McConnell uses his passion for theatre to inspire young mustangs. Lending his unique energy, fearless enthusiasm and sheer comedy to Lions in Illyria, Michael’s stellar performance was not only adored by Lower School students, but recently recognized by GHSA judges who awarded this junior “Best Supporting Actor” at the regional one-act competition.
Brought to life by Director Clark Taylor, this family-friendly Upper School performance was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, told through animals, humor and music.
Each cast member played multiple roles, mastering quick-changes and juggling props under the pressure of time. With lions wearing tutus, a warthog in a hat, a plumed ostrich and a gazelle in mourning, the quick-paced performance kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
Prior to opening night, the MVAllstars cast brought the production to the Lower School to perform for students in grades 2-4. Many of the children in the audience brought their families back to see the show during its run.
McConnell, along with a cast and crew of nine competed in the GHSA (Georgia High School Association) One Act Play competition after performing the show on four separate occasions at Mount Vernon. On the day of competition, each school is given 55 minutes to set-up, perform, and take-down its presentation.
In addition to Michael winning Best Supporting Actor, several awards were bestowed upon the Mount Vernon thespians:
2nd Place Overall
Best Ensemble Cast: (L-R) Mao Mao Guo, Abigail Emerson, Anna Jarrell, Sam Lovejoy, Jackson Dalton, Michael McConnell, and Anya Smith-Roman (in front). Not Pictured: Mckenzie Cartwright and Josh Eastwood.
3 All-star Cast Awards: Juniors Sam Lovejoy and Anya Smith-Roman, Sophomore Anna Jarrell
Play synopsis: Separated from her brother after a storm at sea, Violet — a young lioness, must brave an unknown country all alone. Disguised as a boy, she joins up with a preposterous peacock on a quest to claim the attentions of the most graceful gazelle in town. Soon, Violet is torn between multiple masters, and her adventure takes a turn for the absurd. The heroine becomes entangled in the clownish antics of a wacky warthog and his featherbrained dodo sidekick. Audiences get lost in the weird and wonderful land of Illyria in a magical comedy loaded with music, monkeys, and mayhem.
BRAVO, Michael. BRAVO!