It's been two years since the Ottawa School of Theatre (OST) last performed a live production at the Shenkman Arts Centre. The theatre school normally has two sets of classes a year, culminating in class productions in the fall and spring.
|Members of the Ottawa School of Theatre's Showcase class perform during 'Fall Fun and Stories' at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Nov. 26. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
The 2020 spring session was cut short with the arrival of the COVID-19 virus and the resulting pandemic. Virtual classes resumed last February with the expectation that they would eventually be able to hold group rehearsals in the spring. That never happened, of course, thanks to the third wave of the virus.
It wasn't until restrictions for indoor settings were lifted on Sept. 25 that the OST was able to start holding group rehearsals for students who were fully vaccinated. The new rules made it possible for last winter's Showcase class to get back together for the live production they weren't able to hold last spring.
The challenge was to come up with a brand new production in eight weeks and so Fall Fun and Stories was born under the direction of OSt artistic director Kathi Langston.
Fall Fun and Stories is a collection of four vignettes: "The Doctor Child's Story"; "Don't Judge, Just Don't"; a scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Blacksmith Child's Story"; performed by a cast of mostly mature students.
The Richcraft Theatre was turned into a cabaret setting with tables of two and four people belonging in the same bubble. The stage set featured backdrop artwork produced by Tim Goernert who also played the dragon in "The Blacksmith Child's Story".
The performance itself was a breath of fresh air with a theme of resiliency in the face of life's challenges.
The acting was incredibly on point and you could tell the students were thrilled to be able to perform in front of a live audience again. But no one was more excited than Langston.
"We struggled through COVID, but we managed to get through it and now we are back in the Shenkman Arts Centre and we are so grateful and excited to be performing in front of a live audience it's amazing," said Langston.
Fall Fun and Stories will be back on the Richcraft Theatre Stage at 2:30 p.m. today, Dec. 27. Tickets are $5 at the door for vaccinated people only. COVID screening is also mandatory.