Excitement builds for school musical

Theatre: Parents feel the emotions as teens prepare for opening night Jan. 31

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 08:33 am

Alberta High School of Fine Arts students rehearse for the upcoming production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Students, with support from their parents, prepare for opening night on Jan. 31.
Alberta High School of Fine Arts students rehearse for the upcoming production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Students, with support from their parents, prepare for opening night on Jan. 31.
Wheel File Photo

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Okotoks high school students aren’t the only ones getting swept up in the commotion that comes with preparing for a big show.

Parents of students involved in the upcoming Alberta High School of Fine Arts performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” can’t help but share the excitement, nervousness and stress their children are experiencing as opening night nears.

“When your kid is feeling anxiety, so are you,” said Kim Corrigan, whose daughter Marley has an acting role in the play. “I’m doing everything I can to help her manage her stress.”

The two-act comedy tells the story of seven children vying for the title of champion in a spelling bee overseen by adults with issues of their own. Opening night for the Tony Award-winning musical is Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.

Corrigan said when her daughter got an acting part she spent hours in her room perfecting her role.

“It takes over her world,” she said. “It’s something she lives for.”

Corrigan said Marley, who is in Grade 12, has been involved in drama since Grade 10, following in the footsteps of her older sister who participated in drama all three years of high school.

Although Corrigan drove Marley to and from practices, heard snippets of the play and saw the set her husband helped build, she wants to hear little until show time.

“As far as watching the production, I love once the curtain goes up,” she said. “I like the surprise.”

Corrigan said she doesn’t miss one show.

“I love to see all of these kids and the time and dedication they put into this performance,” she said. “Marley just lights up when she steps on the stage.”

As opening day creeps closer, Corrigan said she is starting to feel her daughter’s anxiety as she prepares for the performance and midterm exams.

Scott McCallum, parent of Grade 12 student Lewis who is working the soundboard for the play, is noticing anxiety in his household as well.

“There’s certainly an increase in the stress and anticipation of the performance to do their best, especially this time of the curriculum having exams,” he said. “It builds a lot of pressure on the kids to do their best and deal with expectations and things like that.”

In addition to the stress is excitement, said McCallum.

“He talks about (the play) a great deal at home,” he said. “With this particular performance he did spend a lot of time pouring over the sound cues and seeking the appropriate sound effects required in the performance.”

McCallum said his son has been involved with school plays since they moved to Canada from the United Kingdom six years ago. Lewis plans to pursue a career in technical theatre.

“It’s where he sees his career lying in the future so it’s very much important to him,” he said. “My wife and I are very proud of how he is doing since he came to Canada. The course seems to be giving him a lot of confidence in his ability to look toward the future.”

Lisa Forseth, parent of Grade 11 student Benjamin, who is playing the drums in the musical band, said she can’t help but get swept up in the excitement and nervousness.

She watched as her son practiced hard for weeks, took a break at Christmas, returned to school to continue rehearsals in January and is now busy studying for exams.

“Everyone is exhausted,” she said. “For them to be juggling all that and still memorizing lines, this is how it rolls.”

Forseth said the program not only built confidence in her son, but helped him understand the importance of working as part of a team.

“I don’t have to bug him at all about it,” she said. “He goes through his practices and hasn’t complained ever.”

Forseth said she is excited to see the final product when the curtain draws on Jan. 31.

“My son says it’s quite a hilarious play and the people they have chosen are really pulling it together,” she said.

Performances take place Jan. 31, Feb. 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $20, or $25 on closing night where food will be provided. Alumni night on Feb. 6 offers tickets for $15 to alumni.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 403-540-6574.

For more information go to http://fchs.fsd38.


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