Did you know that underneath the town of Perryville and the surrounding area lies one of the largest cave systems in the US, boasting more than 700 caves? It's hard to believe, but it's true. The 573 team has explored a few of these caves in the past, encountering saber-toothed tiger tracks in one, sparkling walls in another, and numerous amazing features like stalagmites. Every time we venture into one of these caves, we are simply amazed. Unfortunately, none of these caves are open to the public due to their housing of important natural features and a few endangered species; they are all considered wild or natural caves. The silver lining is that anyone can experience the wonders of these caves, thanks to the forward-thinking initiatives of the city of Perryville. Through their civic center or the Perry Park Center, anyone can embark on a supervised cave journey led by an expert caver. Yes, you get wet, you get muddy, you get tired, but you gain the experience of a lifetime.
Young actor Trinity, gets a taste of acting wet and muddy. It wasn't hard for her to get into character. Quiet & Muddy on the set.
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This 573Magazine.com Story is sponsored in part by the City of Perryville!
Recently, Motion Dog Films and 573 Magazine have joined forces with the City of Perryville to begin the production of a family-friendly feature film set in the caves beneath the city. The film, currently titled "RESURGENCE," revolves around an experienced caver and her teen daughter on a caving journey to reconnect, but things don't unfold as expected. We recently took the main character, the teen girl, into one of the caves to test her caving abilities and her acting underground—it was her first caving experience. She did a fantastic job. Meet Trinity McGrael, a new caver, actor, dancer, and middle schooler.
Trinity inside the Streiler City Cave in the City of Perryville. Right smack in the middle, actually.
"I'm Trinity McGrael, and I am 13 years old. I attend Arcadia Valley Middle School and am the youngest of five siblings—three sisters and one brother. I split my time between my mom, Megan, and my dad and stepmom, Brian and Teresa. Dancing is my passion, and I train at Skyler’s Lyrical Arts (Slay), where I am part of the competition team."
I enjoy being on cool set locations and meeting different people. This one was both cool and muddy.
"When I grow up, I aspire to be a dance teacher. I love helping out at the studio with the littlest dancers. Caving was a blast; we navigated through small passages and witnessed many fascinating cave features. The cave guides were not only knowledgeable but also fun and funny, ensuring our safety throughout. Acting is another love of mine. I enjoy being on cool set locations and meeting different people. This one was both cool and muddy."
Trinity is a super talented young actor.
Experienced Caver and a producer of the production, Gerry Keene, a financial advisor with a passion for caving, shares his enthusiasm for the hidden wonders beneath Perryville. "With over 700 caves underfoot, Perryville offers a vast array of experiences and challenges, boasting four of the five longest caves in the state. Gerry is proud to have played a role in establishing the Grotto Club, a caving program open to the public and kids at the Perry Park Center. The club even provides loaner caving equipment to participants, including helmets, headlamps, knee pads, and elbow pads. The program, initiated by Gerry, Mark Brewer, and Jim Caldwell of the park center, aims to offer a safe way for people to explore the underground world and connect with fellow caving enthusiasts. Over 70% of the club's members have emerged from this program, forming a skilled and dedicated group."
Our two actors play a mother and daughter caving to rekindle their relationship.
A stalactite (from the roof of the cave) and stalagmite (from the floor of the cave) slowly meet creating a small clear pool.
The cave guides were not only knowledgeable but also fun and funny, ensuring our safety throughout.
Gerry adds, "We run the Introduction to Caving programs from March to October once a month. When interest peaks, we organize intermediate-level trips, typically one or two a year, and for those very keen, we arrange advanced trips where all gloves come off. The combination of these trips effectively imparts the skills needed to start caving with more experienced cavers."
From left to right: Amanda Keohler actor, Trinity McGrael actor, Gerry Keene cave producer, Richard Young caver and production consultant.
The Streiler City Cave is locked and pretty hard to get in and out, even with the key.
Our other cave expert, Richard Young, with 50 years of caving experience, provides insights into the Streiler City Cave, located about 20 miles south of Perryville. He reminisces about entering his first wild cave as a 16-year-old high school student and the significant improvements made to the in-cave environment thanks to the city's efforts. Perryville caves now house unique grotto sculpins in their streams, a testament to the positive impact of city management. Richard expresses his excitement about the friendships and diverse interests cultivated during cave trips, ranging from cave science to archaeology projects and cultural history. He is eagerly anticipating his involvement in the new film being produced in Perryville.
Amanda and Trinity see light again!
I'm Amanda Keohler. Acting has been a passion of mine since I was a small child. Every character I’ve portrayed has taught me something about myself and the world around us—being able to act inside a cave is going to be awesome. I got my cave training with the Grotto Club here in Perryville. I really appreciate the Perry Park Center and The Grotto Club for everything they’re doing to help us with the production. I’m super excited about the character I'm playing and this adventure with the Motion Dog Films production team.
Stay tuned to 573 Magazine's social pages for updates and information on auditions for extras in this new film, RESURGENCE, with casting locations in Perryville, Cape, and Farmington. If you'd like to be a part of this production —cast, crew, etc... go to MotionDogFilms.com.
And contact the Perry Park Center to learn how you can get involved in the fascinating world beneath your feet.
GET OUT THERE.
Pics & words t. smugala
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