DTSS drama on, and off, stage

Year-end production features two comedies and a drama

The kiss is always the pivotal scene in a movie, a play, or in life, isn’t it? It’s the moment that represents so much more. It’s the ‘happily ever after’, or the ‘start of something new’ that signals to everyone watching or engaged in said kiss, that something important has happened here between these two lovers.

So, the lip smack scene in Romeo and Juliet just cannot be cut. Well, one did. But the other had to stay. Even if it’s awkward for the two students playing the iconic characters in the upcoming DTSS. production this June.

“He’s quirky, and lovestruck; me but not me,” Devon Persson says of playing the famous part.

In the spirit of pushing himself to do bigger parts in his last year of high school, Devon embraced the character. But he says, the kissing scene pushes himself a little further than he has before.

“It’s very awkward. Lots of awkwardness,” sums up Devon.

Leading lady Emily Clark agrees, speculating it is in no small part because she and Devon were childhood friends. She says after the first rehearsal kiss, “everyone started clapping.”

Their plan?

“We’re just going to breathe through it,” states Emily.

So, that’s one scene. To see the rest of the scenes in the three short plays, you need to come to ‘What’s on Netflix DTSS Theatre? So real you’ll think it’s live – An evening of one acts’.

Drama students are busy prepping for the year-end production. There’s ‘Juliet and This Guy Romeo’, a comedy by Don Zolidis; ‘Tracks’, a drama by Peter Tarsi; and ‘Pet Shop’, a classic Monty Python sketch.

“This year, I thought I’d try something new by doing a few one acts rather than just a full length production. Part of my motivation was to try an extracurricular play so that students who are not in the Senior theatre class (either because they’re only in grades 8/9 or the class didn’t fit in their timetable) could still have the experience of putting on a live play. Also, we wanted to try one comedy and one serious drama,” explains DTSS drama teacher Shelley Little.

The Senior theatre class includes 17 students from grades 10-12. The extracurricular group includes 18 students from grades 8-12 and they have been working on the Romeo and Juliet spoof since October, rehearsing Mondays after school and lunches. There are volunteers doing lighting and stage managing. Other students have been doing sound and painting the backdrop.

“There has been a lot of collaboration and coordination required this year and hopefully it will all come together in the next two weeks,” Ms. Little comments.

Grade 8 student Madia Bodry is prepping for her first high school play, performing the part of ‘Meg’ in Romeo and Juliet. She says while she never thought she would like drama, after doing an introductory course she realized she would fit right in.

“It turns out it was really fun, and I like being dramatic,” says Madia.

Grade 9 student Madeleine Sherk plays Lady Capulet in the upcoming production. She finds being in drama is a good way to get comfortable in front of people, and make more friends. She has enjoyed being part of this year’s play, adding that parents might not understand all the social media references in the modern-day version, but the kids who come certainly will.

Emily, grade 11, has been involved in drama productions for years, starting at Edgewater Elementary as a snowman and working her way up to Juliet this year.

“It’s like taking on a new person – a completely new identity, and you can build off it and change it,” reflects Emily.

Grade 12 student Sebastian Grenia just joined the drama scene last year.

“I’m a very shy person; I felt like it would help me get out of being shy,” says Sebastian, confirming it has done the trick.

To memorize his many lines (Sebastian has parts in all three plays), he put some into songs and sings them over and over.

“Memorizing the lines is probably the hardest part,” says Sebastian.

Devon’s memorization trick for his lines as Romeo was to get the rythym of the words down.

“While Romeo and Juliet is a modern spoof, it takes pieces of iambic pentameter from the original Romeo and Juliet, so I have a number of iambic pentameter lines I have to remember,” says Devon. “I initially thought it’d be a challenge, but there’s a rhythm to it. Once you memorize the rhythm, you can memorize the words that go along with it.”

As the stage manager, Treyann Cairns has no lines to learn, but has the enormous task of keeping everyone organized and where they need to be.

“I wasn’t big on acting, but I’m really organized – I can’t stand if something’s out of place,” she reports.

Treyann says it is fun making sure everyone and everything is sorted, and looks forward to the high-pressure play run times.

The students have worked hard on these three plays, and are all hoping to fill the theatre seats.

The shows are Friday, June 8th and Saturday, June 9th at 7 p.m. at DTSS Theatre.

Tickets will be $5 for students and $10 for adults, available at the school, at Blue Dog Café, and usually at the door.

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