David Thompson Secondary School students have been working hard to bring a 1940s story of crime, love and goofy comedy to life.
The senior theatre class has been working on Kill Me, Deadly since mid-February. The show runs from June 5th to June 7th at the school. The Bill Robens comedy is a parody of the film noir genre, featuring a slick detective solving a convoluted crime in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.
We have never done anything so plot-heavy, Lila Berryman, an actor in the show said. Lots of the other plays we have done are surface comedies. There are elements of this we are still trying to figure out.
Cris Schmitz, the shows stage manager, said the depth in the script has helped the students get a little more out of their acting experience.
It gives people a chance to get into their characters and find their motivation, Ms. Schmitz said. It makes the process more fun.
The students handle virtually all of the shows production elements. Drama and english teacher Shelley Little said the challenging undertaking motivated her students to put in extra effort.
The students have been working hard on this, from building the sets and painting the city scape on the backdrop, to researching the 1940s for costumes and props, Ms. Little said.
To add an extra element of intrigue to the play, music student David Belcher provides live accompaniment on his clarinet and alto saxophone. Mr. Belcher said this is the first time he has played live music for a production.
It is a bit challenging because I have decided to stick to music that is from the right time period, Mr. Belcher said. So I am going with music older than 1948.
Rather than fully directing the show herself, Ms. Little decided to take on the role of facilitating a creative space during rehearsals, where students can give ideas for how the play should be staged.
Everybody comes up with different ideas, so you can create a really great final product, actor Japhy Hunt said.
Ms. Schmitz agreed, noting that students tend to become more engaged when given the chance to offer input into the final product.
Personally, I think it is better than just our teacher telling us what to do on stage, Ms. Schmitz said. It is nice, especially for a school elective, that everybody gets a voice.
The students rehearse together during class and occasionally outside of school. Ms. Berryman said that bonding is the key to making the experience enjoyable for all involved.
There are people that are new to drama this year, and it takes a little while to integrate them into the group, Ms. Berryman said. By the end, you feel like a family. It is great because you feel comfortable around everyone, so you can be the silliest person you can be.
With a week to go before opening night, students are anxious to take to the stage in front of friends and family. Tickets cost $10 for the general public and $5 for students, and can be purchased in advance at Blue Dog Cafe or at the school. Show times are June 5th at 7 p.m., June 6th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and June 7th at 2 p.m.
I feel like we are almost getting there, but I do not think we will feel completely ready to go until we do it, Ms. Berryman said.