MANSFIELD — Christopher Hartman recalls being active in theater since he was 10 years old. Now a junior at Mount Vernon High School, Hartman is portraying Kerchak the gorilla in The Mansfield Youth Theatre Production of Disney’s “Tarzan: The Stage Musical” at Founders Auditorium at The Ohio State University Mansfield. The production, based on the Disney film “Tarzan,” features music from Phil Collins and a full youth cast with characters like Tarzan, Jane, Terk, Kala and more.
Hartman said that when reading for the part of the protective Kerchak, he thought he was “just a jerk.”
“He’s not really, he comes off as a jerk but he just wants to protect his family and everyone. He will do whatever he can to do that. He very rarely shows a happy side of himself, he’s usually very stoic, very steady in his nature. He doesn’t really change a lot,” said Hartman.
“He’s a protector and he’s really strong; he has to come off like he doesn’t have time to play around with everybody because there’s always danger somewhere and he does his best to stop it,” said Hartman.
For the role, Hartman said that he has prepared by getting into “ape mode” as his character is a gorilla and must walk on his hands and feet during the performance.
“Before I go on stage I try to get into him and try to embody him a little bit more before I go on because it helps me. There isn’t a whole lot of me walking upright in this show ... the costume is really baggy so it’s easy to move in,” said Hartman.
Hartman went on to describe the makeup worn in the show, as his face is covered with dark, black makeup, what Hartman describes as “tribal paint.”
“I can actually look kind of scary. It’s a lot of fun because I feel like if I was just standing upright the entire show and I was just walking around it really wouldn’t have the same effect,” said Hartman.
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