JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Students at Valley View High School are flying through the air with the greatest of ease!
Their end of the year production of the Wizard of Oz will know new heights.
They hired a company out of Louisville, Kentucky called ZFX Flying to set up and train them on a fly system.
Senior Sarah Martin is playing Glenda the Good Witch.
She said she was thrilled when she heard characters would actually be flying through the air.
"I was really excited," Martin said. "You know, everyone as they're growing up dreams of flying."
Theater Director Megan Harrell said this was a chance for all of them to learn and do something exciting.
"This is a really great opportunity for us," Harrell said. "None of these students have been able to fly before in a fly system. So, this is really cool and it's great for me. I've never been part of a show that actually has a fly system that moves people on and off stage like that. It's pretty magical so it's a really good time."
MarKeith Scott with ZFX Flying said he was thrilled to learn a school was interested.
"It's always exciting to have high schools," Scott said. "And even middle schools do productions where there is flying involved in the show. It gives students a little different taste of Theater. They get some special effects that most high schools don't get to use in their shows."
"First, they just hovered me above the ground," Martin said. "Then we got to go really, really high and there was this burst of adrenaline. It was really fun. You don't realize how high it is just looking up on the stage how high it actually is until you're up there. It was awesome."
But some work, instruction and training took place to lift their feet off the ground.
"After the fly equipment is rigged into the system," Scott said. "We go through what's called Flying 101. And that's our introduction to flying. So, that gets the cast that's flying used to being on a wire and what it feels like. And also, the people who are operating offstage lifting and traveling them off stage left and right gets them used to holding a person in the air and traveling them back and forth."
"Their pulley system and all the equipment they have," Harrell said. "It is especially made for this. So, the kids feel really secure and safe. Their harnesses have been hand built for their body. It's not just a harness they got off of the shelf. We actually took measurements and they built it for them. And then they're weighted specifically for that student. So, it's a great experience."
Martin said she's proud of their drama department and this production.
"I think it means we have a lot of heart," Martin said. "It means we are dedicated. I know we haven't done a show with a fly system in at least five years. So, to decide to fly is a big commitment. But I think it's worth it. With us being seniors it's our last show and it's a great show to go out on. Especially with everything that we have including it."
"Wizard of Oz is such an iconic show," Harrell said. "Ms. Brinkle had been talking about it for years and what a dream show it would be. Totally I agree and this was the greatest group to do it with. We have an amazing group of kiddos. So, this is really the year to do something that's really a show stopper."
But before you decide to try and put together a fly on your own, you might want to hire a professional!
"It's very important to have a professional come in and do this," Scott said. "We got into schools, major arenas, Broadway shows even. A person can, yes, go to Lowes or Home Depot and rig up something. But we want to make sure our students or professional performers are safe at all times."
Performances will take place April 13 through 15 at 7 p.m. at the Valley View Fine Arts Center.
For more information about ZFX Flying, log onto zfxflying.com or call them at (502) 637-2500.
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