It is grad season and our community has definitely been feeling all the pride and huge sadness that comes with the passage of time, milestones met and those tragically missed.
I have been tripping back in time to my own grad class of 1987, an unorthodox mix of friends from two different towns, now in their (gulp) 50s, who I still keep in contact with if not in person, through social media.
My Class of 1987 is now celebrating the graduations of our children from high school and university and it is making us feel very proud and definitely older.
Maybe it is because I am now walking in the footsteps of my parents that I wrote the play I'll Stop The World for You, starring the talented teens from New Vintage Theatre's teen musical theatre program.
I'll Stop The World for You is based on my high-school angst. Halfway through Grade 11, I discovered my parents had to move. My dad's business was affected by the economic downturn and I would have to leave everything, my:
- Film projects
- Fame-like fine arts high school.
My perfect preppy world was ending and crueller still, long distance phone calls were a fortune.
I couldn't breathe. It was like Hulk Hogan had punched me in the solar plexus.
I ended up moving to a community where there was no theatre, not even a drama program; it was like "the Footloose town for theatre.”
After a disastrous couple of months (insert scary bush party, altercations with some "Poison"-ous bullies and generally feeling really blue), I tried out for the town's community theatre program for an all ages production of Fiddler on The Roof that had citizens as young as eight and as old as 88.
I learned that I had a lot to learn about theatre, people and mostly about myself. Like my dear Dad said, you can be happy wherever you are, if you choose to be.
I'll Stop The World For You is now New Vintage Theatre's teen performance troupe's big play and it premiered last weekend, June 2-6. We were only allowed 10 people/performance in a theatre that seats 350, but that audience loved it.
They cheered as all proud families do. Even my Mom, who suffered with me through this challenging time period, enjoyed it.
More good news is that I'll Stop The World for You is available online from June 12-19, filmed by our collaborating partner James Alton.
It is brilliantly directed by Josie Morrow, and stars Ben Anderson, Hugo Bowman, Hannah Crockett, Madison Costello, Riley Gayford, Mae Glerum, Angelique Gouws, Rhys Griffiths, Alastor Hawkins, Abi Junop, Kaitlyn Sharman, Laila Watson, Shae Watson and Braeden Williams.
Behind the scenes you will find more young stars — Braeden Rachfall, Eva Mackie, Jaeden Walton and my son, Reid Gratz.
Support the next generation of artists and get your tickets at www.showpass.com/ill-stop-the-world-for-you-online/
Remember their names!
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.