Galt drama takes on a tale as old as time

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - By Gor­don Lam­bie

Start­ing next Thursday, April 19, the stu­dents of Alexan­der Galt Re­gional High School’s new Per­form­ing Arts Con­cen­tra­tion pro­gram will be invit­ing the pub­lic to be their guests at a large-scale pro­duc­tion of Beauty and The Beast. Meant to start the new pro­gram off with a bang, the Dis­ney-based mu­si­cal in­volves some 63 stu­dents who will sing and dance their au­di­ences away to an en­chanted cas­tle in France.

“It is 70 min­utes long, and the

num­ber of light­ing and sound cues is the same as for a three hour show,” said Adri­ana Lyons, the teacher who is serv­ing as pro­duc­tion man­ager for the per­for­mance, ex­plain­ing that the larger scale per­for­mance was picked on or­der to show off a broad range of tal­ents and pos­si­bil­i­ties for the stu­dents. “It’s quite the beast of a per­for­mance,” she added with a smile.

The telling of the clas­sic fairy tale taken on by the Galt stu­dents will be fa­mil­iar to fans of the 1991 Dis­ney adap­ta­tion of the story, as the script is drawn from that root rather than from the Broad­way mu­si­cal.

Ac­cord­ing to Lyons, stu­dents au­di­tioned for the spring pro­duc­tion in Septem­ber, with sep­a­rate au­di­tions tak­ing place for act­ing and dance roles. Singing prac­tices be­gan be­fore the win­ter hol­i­days dur­ing lunch hours and af­ter­school prac­tices be­gan in earnest in Jan­uary, with dif­fer­ent groups di­vid­ing up into spa­ces across the school to help cover the var­i­ous as­pects of each scene that need to be per­fected.

“The music and the cos­tumes and the act­ing, they are each a show’s worth of work in them­selves,” she said, ex­plain­ing that she took on the role of “pro­duc­tion man­ager” be­cause there were too many tasks for one per­son to do on their own.

In that vein, this per­for­mance of Beauty and the Beast is sig­nif­i­cant in that it marks the first time that Lyons has brought on a stu­dent di­rec­tor.

“With the Per­form­ing Arts Con­cen­tra­tion com­ing into the mix, we wanted to be able to have the stu­dents take on more of an ac­tive role in the cre­ation,” the teacher said, adding that the de­ci­sion has been pos­i­tive and eye-open­ing both for her­self and the stu­dent, Kevin Parnell.

“It's been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; be­ing able to work with such a tal­ented group of ac­tors, singers and dancers,” Parnell said. “I wasn't plan­ning on even par­tic­i­pat­ing in Beauty and the Beast, but Ms. Lyons gave me the op­por­tu­nity to be the stu­dent di­rec­tor and I couldn't turn it down.”

The young di­rec­tor, who has spent a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time on stage in past Galt pro­duc­tions, said that he has learned a lot more about theatre and act­ing dur­ing this new ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I have a new found ap­pre­ci­a­tion for all of the di­rec­tors that have had to work with me,” he said. “It's def­i­nitely a lot of work.”

The play will run through six per­for­mances in to­tal, two sold-out stu­dent mati­nees that will be at­tended by more than 1200 lo­cal chil­dren, three reg­u­lar evening per­for­mances from Thursday to Saturday night, and a spe­cial Saturday morn­ing mati­nee where the au­di­ence is be­ing in­vited to dress up in their favourite princess cos­tume.

Tick­ets for all of the per­for­mances are be­ing sold out of the school’s main of­fice, and although there are still seats avail­able, Lyons said that the play has al­ready sold more tick­ets than were re­served in ad­vance for the show last year.

“It is a show that is well known,” she said. “Get your tick­ets early.”

More in­for­ma­tion about the show and tick­ets is avail­able by call­ing 819563-0770, ex­ten­sion 22056.

GOR­DON LAM­BIE

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