At Lake City Secondary Williams Lake Campus the drama classes of Columneetza and Williams Lake are inviting the town on Monday and Tuesday to watch two one-act Christmas plays shown back to back.
The culmination of the drama program, these productions are the result of months of work on the part of the students and their indomitable teacher Marilee Andres who teaches drama 8 to 12 at both campuses. While at times it’s been a hectic production schedule, Andres said that the students are, on the whole, rising to the occasion. Many of them have never been in a play before so they had to start from scratch on how to learn their lines, how to move their body on stage, all of it was brand new to them Andres said.
“We are getting there, thankfully we still have a few more rehearsals to go but I think for Monday evening we will have a great show for people,” Andres said.
This year the Grade 9s are putting on Unbreakable Timmy Cratchit: A Christmas Carol in Reverse, which Andres said is a quirky take on the classic Christmas Carol. She said it follows the escapades of Tiny Tim on his quest to bring Christmas cheer to his family as he somehow missed the fact, until this point, that his family is poor. Along with his sister, Belinda, he sets out to take on as many jobs as he can on Christmas Eve to help bring Christmas cheer to his family…
“It really looks at the importance of family at this time (of the year),” Andres said.
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The lead of Unbreakable Timmy Cratchit is, fittingly, Timmy Cratchit himself who is brought to endearing life by Cayden Bouchard. Bouchard said he’s always loved taking part in theatre from a young age ever since he and his cousin used to do little skits together when they were little.
“I guess I’ve always just wanted to be in every possible play I could,” Bouchard chuckled.
Getting the lead role of Tiny Tim was pretty exciting for Bouchard as the second lead of the play Belinda Cratchit is being played by Jaiden Pacholczyk, who he is “kind of like siblings” with in real life. In a way, he said their characters became extended parts of their real personalities, which made things fun for them.
Overall, he feels their production is coming together pretty well and while the last scene is a little shaky, he’s confident the end product will be great.
The message of the play to Bouchard is that we should focus less on the materialistic side of Christmas and spend more time appreciating what you have while spending time with your family.
“It’s just fun and it’s a quick laugh and it’s really fun to see kids having fun up on stage,” Bouchard said.
The high school class, meanwhile, made up of students from Grade 10 to Grade 12, will be putting on The Wishing Tree which is set in a busy mall during Christmas Eve and follows the various teenage employees trying in their own way to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive in their capitalist day job. As a way to help others, they are called on to write down desires and place them on a wishing tree in the hopes that some of them will come true…
With a large ensemble cast, there is no true lead for this production which is why the Tribune sat down with Grade 11 leadership student Daisy Perry, who has done a few shows here and there and hopes to join the Williams Lake Studio Theatre in the future. Perry plays Mrs Hotchkiss, the stern owner and manager of the mall who ends up doing generous deeds for the teenagers working for her.
“A lot of students join drama in high school thinking it’s an easy class and it’s not, especially for people who want to be good at it and have plays they can be proud of,” Perry said. “I do love it and I think (this play) is coming along great and I think my teacher (Marilee Andres) is very good at blocking it and making it come to life.”
While there are still some parts of the play that are rough around the edges, Perry said her fellow students always seem to pull together in the end. She hopes to continue to take part in theatre at both high school and in life after this play wraps up as it’s one of her passions.
“I hope people will come and support the youth in this day and age. It’s hard to hold a production and not see people in the audience, it’s very degrading it feels like that hard work we did do was for nothing,” Perry said. “I think it has a really nice Christmas message if you do come… it gets you in the Christmas spirit.”
Tickets are on sale now at The Open Book or at the door for $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors with all proceeds going right back into the drama program. Unbreakable Timmy Cratchit, with a run time of about 30 minutes, will be opening followed by The Wishing Tree with a runtime of around 50 minutes on Monday, Dec. 16 and Tuesday, Dec. 17 with show begging at 7 p.m. both nights.
“I love supporting youth drama, I think it’s just a fun evening to be able to come to relax (and enjoy) two Christmas stories,” Andres said.