Seaton Secondary drama students Jace Toews, left, Jax Dolman, and Zaiah Ingram practise for The Secret in the Wings, which runs June 4-8 at the school. The Secret in the Wings, written by Mary Zimmerman, adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a stripped-down theatrical work that sets dark mystery against wit and humour. (Photo submitted)

Seaton Secondary drama students Jace Toews, left, Jax Dolman, and Zaiah Ingram practise for The Secret in the Wings, which runs June 4-8 at the school. The Secret in the Wings, written by Mary Zimmerman, adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a stripped-down theatrical work that sets dark mystery against wit and humour. (Photo submitted)

Stripped-down theatrical performance

The mystery of theatre and folklore go hand-in-hand, but there’s more to it than meets the eye

The mystery of theatre and folklore go hand-in-hand. However, there’s more to the tales and performance than meets the eye.

Seaton Secondary drama’s The Secret in the Wings, written by Mary Zimmerman, adapts a group of lesser-known fairy tales to create a theatrical work that sets dark mystery against wit and humour.

“The play is written for nine actors, each of whom play multiple roles,” said Seaton Secondary drama instructor Lana O’Brien. ” This adds another fascinating dynamic as the characters and stories inter-relate with each other. It has been such a fun journey creating this show. The student actors are so smart. They discover new things about how the stories are connected at every rehearsal.”

Live musicians supply not only music, but also mood and mystery as the underscore the production.

Familiar story lines like Snow White, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and a “sitting around the campfire-esque ghost story” are re-told through these lesser-known tales of Zimmerman’s choosing. The focus isn’t on a Disney-like story of good versus evil and happily ever after. Instead, the play is a stripped-down focus on creating theatrical moments with the use of minimalist props, costumes, and emphatic lighting. Creating the set has been an on-going art installation for the stagecraft class.

“We wanted to create a set that supports and speaks to the fractured elements of the stories, and to the title itself. We have removed some of the curtains that block the backstage areas from the audiences’ view so that there are very few secrets in the wings. The result is a set where one doesn’t quite know where the theatre ends and the environment of the play begins. The costumes, too, are fragmented, incomplete, and minimalist in moving the actors from one character to another,” said O’Brien.

“This is a very challenging piece of theatre, and all the students involved have really upped their game. It is very professional, and we are very proud to present this show to the community.”

The Secret in the Wings opens June 4 with a matinee at 2 p.m., and continues with evening shows at 7:30 p.m. every night from June 4-8. All tickets are $12, available at Seaton Secondary School, or reserve by calling 250-542-3361 extension 2227.