Our community is blessed with many budding artists – many of whom are local high school students. Today I’m happy to feature a story about a play being presented by students and teachers from St. Francis Xavier High School. It sounds like a really fun night out right here in our community!
Taking a trip through a labyrinth of eccentric characters including a ruthless ruler and her delirious subjects, all the while being watched over by a transient cat, might prove to be an interesting challenge for most people, but not for our protagonist, Alice. For the little ones, the production provides an amusing experience to explore the world of Wonderland (one of pure imagination and unconventional beauty) alongside Alice, who goes through feelings of isolation while struggling to balance order with chaos in a whirlwind of mayhem. For the kids at heart, the production provides an opportunity to reunite with their younger selves and give in to the spirit of the children they once were.
The creative vision for St. Francis Xavier’s high school’s production this year was based on imagination and collaboration. Taking on the production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland by Anne Coulter Martens allowed the directors, cast and crew to work together and use their unbridled creativity in almost every aspect of the production. In light of the collaborative nature of the production, three cast and crew members decided to write this article together: a Grade 12 student who is the stage manager of the play, a Grade 12 student who is the lead of the play, and a Grade 11 student who is the lighting director and wrote and composed four original songs for our production. Each one will be giving a different perspective on Alice In Wonderland.
Megan Leahy (Grade 12 student & Stage Manager):
The amount of time that students put into this production is more than I have seen throughout the four years that I have been part of the Coyote Cast and Crew. As the stage manager, I really got a chance to see how much the teachers work outside of the regularly scheduled rehearsals. At the beginning of the year, I was hesitant as to whether I wanted to be an actor or a part of the crew. I ended up auditioning, but after the last audition, I informed the teachers that I had decided that I wanted to take on the role of stage manager instead. I was prepared for it to be a lot of work, but not as much work as it actually was. I never left the drama room earlier than five at night on rehearsal nights, just so that I could help the teachers with all of the other things that had to get done. I helped with writing the blocking for the cast, picking costumes, making the program, creating the flats (the painted set pieces), assisting with choreography, organizing everything for the ensemble, and organizing team building activities outside of the production for all of the students involved. I wanted to make sure that the students would enjoy this year and constantly feel like a family. Becoming stage manager has made me grow so much and learn so much from the directors, my fellow students, and other Coyote Cast and Crew alumnae. I am so thankful for this experience and I am excited to use my new knowledge to help me in my post-secondary studies and my future.
Morgan Churchill (Grade 12 student & plays Alice):
Doing a show that is so demanding and well-known requires a large cast. This year we have a cast and ensemble of forty-four people who have all dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to be able to make this show possible. This is my fourth and final year acting in the productions at this school and the experience of getting to play Alice is one that will stick with me. I have learned so much from the directors, the stage managers and the students that have since graduated from the school throughout the years and this has allowed me to grow and improve each year. Ever since I first started attending the school in grade seven, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the play because of how much I looked up to the older students. This play has been something that we have all poured our hearts and souls into for the past six months and I am so excited for people to see all of the efforts that everyone has put into this show.
Lisa Uchelimafor (Grade 11 student, who composed and wrote lyrics for four original songs, and who is also the Lighting Designer & Operator):
I have been a part of high school productions since the beginning of my high school career. Countless hours of work are put into each production to make it the best we can. However, I would have to say, the best part of it all is being able to see the things you’ve made with your own hands come to life on a bigger scale. This year, I decided to write some songs to accompany the script and to further shed some light on the inner workings of the characters. I had not had a lot of experience with music writing. In fact, I had never actually written a full song before, but I was determined to write at least one for the play, in order to prove to myself that I could do it. Since that promise, I have written three original songs plus a reprise, in an effort to tell the story in a different manner. The first song is called “Time for Tea,” and is sung by the Mad Hatter (Margaret Legge), March Hare (Matteo Golin) and the Dormouse (Kaitlyn Keylor). The second song, titled “Take Me Home”, which is sung by Alice (Morgan Churchill), expresses her isolation and homesickness. All she really wants is to be able to escape the mad world around her and go home. The third song, called “Off with their Heads”, sung by the Queen of Hearts (Olivia Barber), depicts the ruthless Red Queen in her prime, barking orders at her subjects while pretending to follow through on her threats of imminent decapitation. Writing these pieces was a lot of fun and seeing them performed fills me with a sense of accomplishment. However, like all the parts in a production this huge, it was a team effort. I am very grateful for the actors who bring the songs to life with their authentic take on the characters they play, and I am very excited for others to see the magic happen live at St. Francis Xavier High School.
We hope you’ll take a trip with us down the rabbit hole April 7th at 2pm, or April 11th-13th at 7pm. Enjoy the show!!
Ready for Barrhaven’s newest Breakfast Experience?
Located right across from Costco and Value Village