Students take lead in hair-raiser
Drama: St. John Paul II gets creative with fairy tale
Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017 03:58 pm
Some junior high students in Okotoks’ separate school system haven’t been themselves these past few weeks.
Twenty St. John Paul II Collegiate students have been changing their personalities to portray some outrageous characters for the school’s fairy tale production of A Hairy Tale, a collection of stories from various fairy tales. The performance will take place in the school gymnasium March 21 and 22 at 7 p.m.
“We always do a fairy tale the kids know, but we did them all,” said director and stage manager Tara Sziva. “This one combines all the fairy tales in one.”
Sziva describes A Hairy Tale as a spoof on Rapunzel that consists of three stories – one about a family of peasants who are threatened to be evicted from their hovel, another about a king, queen and their rotten stepchildren and another about Rapunzel and her family.
“It’s a nice mix of everything,” she said.
The 20 performers and 28 crew members have been working on the performance since the beginning of the school year.
Every student who auditioned received a role, Sziva said.
“We don’t do cuts,” she said. “They all get to be on the stage if they want to be. The arts is something you shouldn’t be cutting.”
The cast gets together once a week to rehearse and is responsible for developing their characters in their spare time, Sziva said.
Many have performed in their elementary school plays, said Sziva. Those who attended Catholic school in Okotoks also had the opportunity to watch the junior high performance in Grade 6 as an introduction to the school’s drama program, she said.
“We have very high expectations,” she said. “They have to learn the lines so it’s practiced, well rehearsed and ready to go. We really develop them for high school and give them the love of theatre at an early age. We are a step below the high school.”
Each performance brings a combination of seasoned actors and actresses and those who are new to the stage, said Sziva.
She said it’s about getting students to do something that challenges them.
“Any chance to see kids do something outside of their comfort zone is worth seeing,” she said.
Grade 9 student Chiarra Garet admits she initially struggled with taking on the role of the joyful and impulsive Fairy Godmother, who’s never been a prominent character in the popular fairy tales she read as a child. She said that was the case for many of her peers as well.
“We had to create a character no one had created for us,” she said. “We had to figure it out for ourselves. We really had to go out of our comfort zone.”
The Fairy Godmother plays a small role in the fairy tale world, so Garet added her own personal touch by making her bubbly and ditzy.
“It was really hard at the beginning,” she said of portraying this type of personality. “I’m not outspoken. I’m quite shy until you get to know me.”
Garet performed in her elementary school musicals as well as plays at St. John Paul II Collegiate the past two years, but this year was different.
“I feel I have more responsibilities,” she said. “I’m set to a higher standard and I’m a role model to the 7s and 8s.”
Alyssa Hassett is also a seasoned actress with experience in both elementary and junior high plays.
The Grade 8 student plays a peasant whose family is threatened with eviction by the queen.
Hassett said she made her character similar to her own personality – a hardworking problem-solver who is quiet and shy.
“I thought of the situation she was in and the problems she had and I tried to think of what she would do,” she said.
Tickets to see A Hairy Tale cost $5 and can be purchased at St. John Paul II Collegiate by calling 403-938-4600 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org