OKM theatre students adapt live performances to go online

Students set to perform live

Sarita Patel

Okanagan Mission Secondary School is making it possible for you to watch a live performance by theatre students from your own home.

Starting this weekend, Grade 9 and 10 students will perform Sister Act Jr. while the Grade 11 and 12s will act out Guys and Dolls Jr. over a live stream.

“It was really important for me to find a way to follow all the protocols, make sure all the kids felt safe and felt comfortable but also give them an opportunity to find joy,” explains Ryan Grenier, teacher and artistic director.

Combining the grades and minimizing the number of performers along with strict COVID-19 protocols helped with the production of both shows.

“It really brought the cast closer together and just made us have to perform more in unison … it took a lot more from each member, it makes it more rewarding but also more difficult,” says Wil Taylor, who plays Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls Jr.

“It’s really nice because I wouldn’t be able to see my friends otherwise and practise as much as I have. I feel like I’ve learned more, especially with the masks,” adds Nevaeh Dyson, who plays Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act Jr.

Allie Sieben, who plays Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls Jr. says, “I can genuinely say I have a relationship with every single person just because you’re not working in a cast of fifty, you’re working in a cast of fifteen”.

This will be the final performance for both Taylor and Sieben, which is bittersweet.

“It’s a little bit painful, it hurts me a little bit, but I couldn’t have a graduating year without theatre,” adds Taylor, who’s been performing for the past six years.

“I’m closing that chapter but I’m feeling excited, grateful and a little sad because it’s obviously been a big part of life,’ added Sieben, who’s been performing at OKM since Grade 7.

Taylor says he’ll miss the wacky traditions that come with the theatre, which was more than just performing to him.

“We usually have a halftime speech, so in the middle of the show we’ll gather the whole cast and we’ll make some crazy, rambling speech to try and get everyone excited … in this case, there’s no intermission, there’s no audience — so, I suppose we’re just going to have to see what happens.”

Sieben hopes that she was able to pass along her knowledge and leave a bit of a legacy before her next step.

“I was able to gain so much confidence, I’ve grown from being a timid, shy person who was just dancing the background to taking on a leadership role, I do chorography now, I’m head of marketing and doing the program and I’ve been able to teach people.”

Despite being terrified with the added role of television director, Grenier says he’s excited to showcase a quality product.

“It’s really important that when people pay money to see a product I see the onus of some kind of quality production.”

Only four performances are starting Friday, to purchase your $20 ticket to the show, search OKM at showtix4you.com.

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