Volume 6 Week 27

Tuesday, May 276


 

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(Posted 3:30 p.m., May 24)

Orleans Young Players shine in wonderful double bill
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Henri Feist and Maggie Sherwin played the roles of Professor Puzzle and Agnes Dactyl in the OYP Act II production of ‘Whirly Words’. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The Orléans Young Players took to the stage last Sunday night with the latest two installments in the theatre school’s Spring Theatre Showcase.

First up was Samantha Stephens’ Saturday Act I class with their adaptation of Canadian playwright James Reaney’s “The Boy with the ‘R’ on his Hand” entitled “Tale of A Hero”.

The play is about a young orphan boy named Alec who learns about being a responsible young man and maintaining his integrity through a series of escapades.

One of my bugaboos about amateur theatre, or any live theatre for that matter, is a lack of projection and allocution. It’s hard to be a good actor if the audience either can’t hear you or can’t make out a word you’re saying.

Thankfully the young cast in had no difficulty being heard or understood. Jacinta DaNova, as Alec, was a jewel to behold. Every time she was on stage she commanded the audience's attention by her mere presence and booming voice (made all the more remarkable coming from someone so petit in size).

The play is set in the former Upper Canada capital city of York during a period of political unrest. Rioters ransack William Lyon Mackenzie’s print shop and Alec uses his judgement and tells the Lieutenant Governor who the rioters are before he leaves on a summer sojourn.

Besides DaNova’s remarkable performance, Kellie MacDonald stood out as Mackenzie, as did Jenna Braham who played Rebecca. The rest of the cast included Tessa Duc as Alec’s brother Joel; Kelsey Armour as Aunt Henrietta; Lydia Salgo as Cousin Allan; Dylan Sherwin as Doc Strachan; Megan Kelly as Mistress Strachan and Lady Catherine; Carole Rondeau as Cousin Bathsheba and Zakiya Abdullah as Charley and the narrator.

Special mention should go out as well to siblings Sydney and Tyler Smith who filled in on two weeks notice. Sydney played the roles of the Elderly Lady and Mr. Aiken, while Tyler did an amazing job as Uncle John especially when you consider he only had two weeks to learn his lines while rehearsing for his role in Sunday’s other production “Whirly Words” by Sam Stephen’s Act II class.

The play was inspired by Reaney’s 1980 play “Gyroscope”. It’s loosely about a man who enters a poetry contest so that he will have something in common with his wife, the only problem is that the Harper’s Poetry Guild is only open to women. To get past this obvious obstacle he dresses up as a woman and ends up winning the contest.

Behind the scenes is a group of five friends who get transported back in time to witness the chain of events. One of the friends is a Game Boy addict who has no time for poetry. As the play evolves, he begins to gain an appreciation for the written word and by the end of the play he becomes a budding poet.

Once again the entire cast did a wonderful with the script. Of special note was the performance of Tyler Smith, who I already mentioned, who played the husband. Erin Mitchell did an awesome job as a reporter named Mattie and Samantha Ethier who played the wife Hilda LaSelva.

The remainder of the cast included Maggie Sherwin as the president of the Harper’s Poetry Guild; Henri Feist as the poetry contest judge Professor Puzzle; Kaitlyn Bentley-Desousa as Harriet; Ben Murray as Will the Game Boy addict; and Adriana Baker, Sebastien Wakim, Olivia Campagna and Meranda Nolan.

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

 

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