Volume 6 Week 27

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(Posted 1:30 p.m., May 14)

Orleans Young Players bring Canadian poet's work to life
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

OYP's Saturday Act III class performs James Reaney's 'Suit of Nettls' as part of the theatre school's Spring Theatre Showcase last week. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Orléans Young Players continued their tribute to Canadian poet and playwright James Reaney last week with a pair of productions by two of the theatre school's Act III classes for students in Grade 7 and 8.

The first production "Suit of Nettles", is based on James Reaney's poem by the same name about a flock of geese during the passage of a year.

I wish I could tell you more about the play, but outside of two or three of the actors the performance was barely audible a problem compounded by the complexity of the dialogue.

Among the cast members who stood out were Josh Starkey who played four different parts including Scrutumnus the critic; Erika Lorensen who played Scrutumnus' friend Busto as well as Effie the optimistic goose; and Paige Kendell who played Dorcas the 'pet' goose.

After a brief intermissionm, OYP's Tuesday night Act III class took the stage in "Poetry In Motion", a cleverly conceived play by OYP instructor Jennn Jarvis about a group of teenagers who find a book of Reaney's plays while helping to clean up before a move.

But the book is not just any collection of poetry. When its contents are read by the four girls each poem is interpreted by a group of spirits. The catch is that the poems only come to life when the girls are together. In the end the youngest of the two sisters decides to divide the contents of the book between the four of them so that whenever they reunite they can bring the pages together and the play will once again come to life.

I would single out some of the more memorable performances in the production, but they were all equally brilliant. Technically they all projected well and their allocution was near perfect.

The cast included Emma Hoch as the mother; Madelyn Gauthier as Taren; Emily Dinardo as Lia; Madeline Diamanti as Pinney; Andrea Constantine as Kate; and Lindsay Boileau, Danielle Maltais, Madelene Dionne, Michaela Taylor, Allison O'Brien and Madison Meyer as the spirits.

But the real star of the play was Jarvis who both wrote and directed the production and came up with lines like, "Don't be scared it's only poetry", and the description of Reaney as "a very odd man who never acted his age and saw things from a kid's point of view".

I can only imagine that if Reaney himself had of been sitting in the audience, he would have been suitably impressed with the presentation.

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


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