The cast of CAST, including (from left to right above), Jared Carré, Darta Permina and Tanya Jones and Montana Kvill (below), staged Once Upon This Island from July 23-25 at The West Fraser Guild to conclude their three-week musical youth camp.
Sarah Burns Photo
The Creative Arts Summer Theatre (CAST) camp brought back the play Once on this Island, along with one of the original cast members from the first performance of the play in 2010.
Montana Kvill was only six years old when she joined CAST’s predecessor, On The Marquee, in 2009 for the performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then she has performed in at least one play per year through various avenues, including school plays.
“I have loved musical theatre ever since. I just have a big passion for it. I love singing, and dancing, and performing,” said Kvill.
Kvill was a junior in Once on this Island in 2010, but this year transformed herself into a lead role: Asaka, God of Earth.
“Asaka is really fun, she’s spunky and energetic and a little bit sassy,” said Kvill about her role.
“She has a big number where she dances and sings at the same time. It can be a little tiring, I just need to remember to breathe so I can get all my lines out.”
Besides directing the summer camp, Christina Oliver is also a voice teacher and Kvill has been one of her students for years.
During one of her lessons, Kvill noticed a Once on this Island script laying nearby and immediately started singing a song from the musical.
Kvill’s passion for musical theatre was on full display on stage and she’s evolved and learned to be a great actress over the years.
“She’s really good. She’s learned to project her voice. A lot of times we say, ‘everybody look at Montana and look what she’s doing.’ Her actions are always really big, she’s not a trained dancer but she definitely puts her heart and soul into it, because she loves musical theatre,” said Oliver.
Kvill’s energy was palpable as she spoke about what it’s like to step out onto the stage.
“You get this big rush, you get butterflies in your stomach but then when you finally get to be out there in the lights with people in front of you, you’re like ‘oh my gosh, this is really happening,’” she said.
Kvill looks forward to pursuing a career in musical theatre and hopes to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts after she finishes high school.
“I’m definitely planning on moving down to the States. My big two places would be California and New York,” she added.
Kvill already started making her mark south of the border at the Missoula Children’s Theatre, where she’s taken part in summer plays.
“It’s a really good place for people to go if they want their kids to learn more about musical theatre,” she said.
CAST splits the students up into a junior and senior group, where seniors take on the bigger roles and learn more in-depth choreography.
The camp runs for three weeks, and three performances are held in the final week. Oliver added that there is some pressure put on them to turn out a great production within that time.
“We say if you were on a movie set and you were paid to do this, they would never tell you what you’re doing right. That’s not their job, they want you to fix all of these things,” she added.
“That’s the real world. I don’t want kids to go away thinking that everything is going to be easy in theatre.”
Throughout the camp, cast members go through acting exercises like character development and receive homework to practice their theatre skills. The youth production – part of The Broadway Junior Collection was staged July 23 – 25.