Andrew Kositsin (left), Kiera Byrnes, Taryn Parsonage, Laura Meinert, Jared Nickoli, Saskia DeFoor gear up for Apple Box Theatre’s production Valentine at Kalamalka Secondary May 30 to June 2 and June 5-7. (Photo submitted)

Kalamalka Secondary play sends actors back to elementary

Apple Box Theatre presents Valentine May 30 to June 2 and June 5-7

For elementary students, Valentine’s Day is exciting and, at times, heartbreaking.

Kalamalka Secondary’s Apple Box Theatre explores those themes in Valentine — a one-act play about a Grade 2 class navigating Valentine’s Day and all the humour, heartbreak and hilarity that the day involves.

Playwright Bethany Cox produced the hour-long script that embodies the energy, awkwardness and confusion Valentine’s Day brings to an elementary classroom with crushes, cooties and shenanigans galore.

“It’s my own fault to have asked these teenagers to become seven-year-olds again — sometimes they are in character all day long,” said director and teacher Shon Thomas.

“Still, it’s a small class who — although they don’t realize it yet — have become a close-knit, mildly dysfunctional family that has chosen a script, built a set, designed lights and sounds, created advertising and produced an entire play. Pretty great for second graders.”

To add to the excitement, a love interest thrown in for the frazzled teacher, Mrs. Honeywell — other than her cat, Norman.

“It’s funny because I feel like I know Nathan a little better than I know Andrew (Kositsin, the actor), and I react kind of like a little girl with a crush instead of like a fellow actor,” said Kiera Byrnes who plays Gabby in Valentine.

The Theatrical Production class continues its tradition of working with their community to build their work with this piece.

Last year’s Closing Doors play tackled living with Alzheimer’s by working with a senior’s arts group, and this year’s partnership was nearly as feisty: Melissa Jacob’s class of Grade 2 students from Kidston Elementary.

The high school students spent an afternoon crafting, learning and playing with the young students in order to research their roles, absorb the energy and remember the joy that being in school used to bring.

“I like bothering the older grades (it’s a class with Grades 9-12), and since it’s my character I mostly get away with it,” said Kositsin who plays Nathan.

Three months of work, building, rehearsing, lighting, and costuming resulted in the comedic performance Thomson hopes everyone will see.

“Theatre, done right, is hard work. You play on stage at night for an audience and it looks easy — that’s the thing. The reality is that it’s the hardest, most rewarding, most challenging thing you’ll ever do in high school,” said Rhiannon Gordon-Smith, stage manager.

“It brings together everything you’ve learned and forces you to use it. It feels so good when you get it right, and (these) guys deserve that feeling.”

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. nightly at Kalamalka Secondary School May 30 to June 2, and June 5-7. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Regular tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults with a pay-what-you pay matinee June 2 at 2 p.m. Contact the school or email kalapplebox@gmail.com for tickets and more information.


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