Volume 6 Week 27

Monday, Nov. 110


Updated Nov. 21

Updated July 12

Phil McNeely
Posted Feb. 12




(Posted 1:30 p.m., Dec. 3)
Young thespians deliver entertaining double bill
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

It's always a treat attending an Orleans Young Players production, especially when the students take on something beyond the usual lighthearted fare of futuristic fairy tales and sugar and spice and everything nice.

OYP's Act II class did just that Saturday night with their production of "The Box" about a group of kids who are sent to a bomb shelter by their parents to escape a devastating world war.

After nearly a year in the shelter the kids are quickly running out of food and what little hope they have left that their parents are going to come back for them.

The interesting part about the play, besides the mature subject material, is the fact that each actor had to write their own monologue aimed at providing some insight into their characters.

While most young actors would have a difficult time tackling the seriousness subject material, the entire cast rose to the occasion and did so with flying colours.

The Act III class, which is made up entirely of students in Grade 5 and 6, did a remarkable job in remaining true to the plot while delivering one of the most remarkable performances for their age group I've seen in the last five years. It was that good. And I'm not just saying that because my daughter was in the play.

Despite their young age, the core of the cast has been together for the past three years. Under the tutelage of OYP instructor Andrea Cochrane, they have grown leaps and bounds since their first production "The Pirates of Narnia" back in 2004.

In "The Box", the castaway kids are struggling to maintain what little hope they have left of being reunited with their parents when two surprise visitors happen upon their shelter. The visitors turn out to be a brother and sister from the enemy camp called Zorfars who are tired and starving.

The sibliings' presence triggers a debate among the shelter's inhabitants about whether or not they should share their dwindling food supplies with the siblings. In the end they agree to feed them, but one of the kids who voted against helping the visitors, decides to steal the food in the middle of the night and run away.

When the other kids realize she's gone, the brother volunteers to go find her. He eventually does and brings her back, but collapses and dies after they return to the shelter. As the play ends, the kids' attention is caught by a series of morse code signals which come across an emergency transmitter that has remaind silent for nearly a year.

Mati Contal and Erin Abbott did a great job as the two main characters Peter and Clarice while the remainder of the cast was rounded out by Brianna Bettencourt as Noelle, Jordan Dangerfield as Heather, Tyler Smith as Charlie, Maggie Sherwin as Lauren, Madison Skotnicki as Lisa, Petra Hohenstein as Charlotte, Adrienne Pearce as Gwen and Laurence DaNova and Christina Wood as the sibling visitors Robert and Jenny.

The double bill was kicked off by the Act I production of "Funky Town Fiasco" about two sisters who go back in time with their grandmother, who is a former disco dancing champion, to try and learn some moves for an upcoming dance competition.

Hot on their heels are their two rivals along with Inspector Jean Cloulesse. They all end up in a disco contest being put on by Captain Boogie and his bunny with Elvis Presley as the judge. There are a number of other contestants in the competition including Sheik Yir Booti, hilariously played by Caelon Rebus, and two of Captain Boogie's proteges.

Natalie Skotnicki played the Disco Granny, Adriana Barker was Captain Boogie and Karl Maitland played Elvis. The rest of the cast included Kaitlyn Bentley-DeSousa who played a cop and Kenny Kobler, Olivia Champagne as Zoe, Kelsey McClymont as Annabelle, Sydney Smith as Debbie, Henri Feist as Inspector Cloulesse, Meranda Nolan as Karen, Olivia Woods as Zita and Gabriella DeLenardo as Sam.

For several of the cast members, "Funky Town Fiasco" was their first OYP production while the remainder of the group will be graduating to the Act II class next year.

The third and final OYP play is their annual Christmas production which this year is "The Nutcracker Story" which is being performed this Friday and Saturday at the Orleans Theatre. Curtain time both nights is 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for OYP families and students.

The Orleans Young Players Act II class delivered a memorable performance in the production of "The Box" Saturday night at the Orleans Theatre . Fred Sherwin/Photo

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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