Theatre students of Brookswood Secondary will be taking the audience to the 15th century through their latest musical theatre production, Something Rotten.
Set in the 1590s, it is the tale of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom who are desperate to write a hit play but struggle to find success in the theatrical world as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary, William Shakespeare.
When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting simultaneously, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s first musical. But amidst the scandalous excitement of the opening night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to own self.
Directed by Brookswood Secondary teacher Sheri Eyre, the play features 27 cast members, 12 in the orchestra, and 15 crew members. School staff, community members, and parents also contributed to the play by painting sets, making costumes, and providing food to the cast, crew and orchestra.
Eyre, the artistic director, was assisted by Gordon Hamilton, who has been teaching theatre at Brookswood for the last 24 years. Derrick Turi lead the orchestra team as the director, and Emily Hamel is the vocal director for the musical performance, which Pauline Dynowski choreographed.
Eyre said that the show is a “love letter” to musicals and for those who like Shakespeare.
“In this show the students have worked so hard and we are grateful that they are able to experience what it is like to have a live audience again,” she said.
Geneva Chattel, who has been in the school since Grade 8, said he was shocked to learn he was chose for a lead role. It took a day for the Grade 12 student to sink in.
“I am so proud of everyone’s work,” Chattel said. “The show is a comedy about a man who wants nothing more than to succeed in life, but goes about it the wrong way.”
Grade 12 student Bree Weidendorf was “terrified” and “excited” to play Portia.
“Portia is a bit naive. She thinks the world is a great place, but her father is very strict and doesn’t approve of poetry and the theatre,” Weidendorf explained.
Another Grade 12 student who will play Lady Clapham and the judge said that everyone involved in the play is like a mini-family to her. Emily Venturino, a student from Italy, said that she enjoyed the professionalism of everyone involved. She plays the character of Nostradamus, a female character who lives in a “crazy world.”
Eyre said theatre is a way that students can connect with one another and with different parts of themselves.
“I deeply believe that theatre is one of the best ways to build community and to allow our students to connect socially. If you’re not familiar with theatre, you can think of it as simply remembering lines and songs and performing them on stage. However, when you dig into the process, there is way more learning around growing as a human being,” she noted.
The production will follow the Ministry of Education and provincial health office guidelines to run the theatre at 50 per cent capacity. All audience members will be asked to keep their masks on.
The public can enjoy the show at the school theatre from Feb. 23 to 26. The second series of performances will be from March 2 to 5. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and curtain time is 7 p.m. There is a 15-minute intermission.
Brookswood Secondary is located at 20902 37A Ave. Tickets are available at ShowTix4U for $15.
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