By Steve Hubrecht
Get set for a costume extravaganza. The year-end play by this year’s David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) senior theatre will be unlike anything attempted in previous years.
The class will be doing two performances of ‘The Witch’s Princess’ on the first weekend of June, and the shows will feature a sprawling ensemble cast of no fewer than 25 performers, many clad in what promises to be visually stunning, elaborately designed costumes, and plenty of unique props. There’s even going to be some puppetry, a first for a DTSS play. And not just ordinary puppetry, at that — no, it will be shadow puppetry.
But that’s the visual side of things. The play is also a hilarious dash of fairy tale feminism, with a bad-arse (those the Pioneer spoke with used a more colourful, unprintable adjective) heroine and a motley crew of literary legends such as Beowulf, Jabberwocky, Medusa and more.
The only reason not to run out and get tickets immediately is that they aren’t on sale just yet. That’s an admittedly rational reason, to be sure, but the class will announce when and where you can secure them at some point in mid-May, so stay tuned.
“It really is different than what we’ve done before,” senior theatre teacher Shelley Little told the Pioneer.
“We have a huge group working on costumes, and they are doing a great job,” added student and class publicity manager Clare Hatalcik. “I just ordered hundreds of feathers. We’ve got a new spotlight for the shadow puppetry, and we’ve just started doing sword choreography today. It’s going to be a very fun play to watch.”
The show is a comedy too, so Hatalcik and Little expect plenty of belly laughs for audience members.
‘The Witch’s Princess’ tells the story of Princess Alessandra. She lives in a kingdom under a terrible curse. Her father, the king is offering her hand in marriage to any knight who can kill the bog witch and, in so doing, lift the curse. But Alessandra isn’t the type to sit back and have a knight sort out her problems. So she decides to enlist the help of some famous literary monsters in history and set out to get the bog witch herself. But there’s more to the monsters, the bog witch, and the curse than meets the eye.
“It’s family friendly,” said Hatalcik adding the play borrows from classic fairy tales, myths and legends and Harry Potter and arrives at something that is a blend of Brave, Shrek, and the Princess Bride.
“The knights, well, they are pretty ridiculous,” said Hatalcik. “There’s the Knight of Feathers, the Knight of Blossoms, the Knight of Oranges, the Knight of Hammers. Those costumes have been a lot of work and a lot of fun.”
The bog witch outfit is another good one, said Hatalcik. “It looks like a swamp turned into a person.”
Hatalcik said the enthusiasm of the class in infectious.
“They’ve worked so hard. I’m so proud of the progress,” she added.
The theatre class includes 28 students, with many of them performing multiple roles for the production. Aside from the many backstage roles, 25 students will be up on stage during the play. Students in key roles include Hatalcik (who also plays the character Gabriella), Ella Martin (who plays Princess Alessandra and has memorized more than 300 lines), Neina Flight (who is art director, which includes creating all the costumes and puppets), and Alanna Meadus (stage manager).
Once tickets do go on sale, they will be $12 for adults and $7 for students and children.
The shows are Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3, both at 7 p.m. at the DTSS theatre.