MusiKal goes ‘dell’arte’ for Pinocchio

Kalamalka Secondary drama students stage Pinocchio as play within a play in commedia dell’arte fashion.

Kalamalka students Elise Wilson

Kalamalka students Elise Wilson

It won’t be Geppeto pulling the strings when the world’s most celebrated liar sticks his nose out for this year’s Kalamalka Secondary School’s “MusiKal” production.

Students in the school’s stagecraft class are pounding nails into wood, while musical theatre students are busy rehearsing,  singing, dancing and writing their own music for Pinocchio Del Arte, which opens in the school’s Apple Box Theatre today.

“This year, the two classes have put together an amazing show in the dell’arte (Italian comedic) tradition –– it’s fun, features masks, improv and portable sets,” said Kal drama teacher Shon Thomas.

Opening with a nod to Peanuts with the musical number On a Dark and Stormy Night, the story follows a group of commedia dell’arte actors wandering the stormy night searching for a place to stay dry.

When they stumble upon the palace of the Dogaressa of all Venice (played by student Georgia Rudeloff), they are initially turned away, but then the Dogaressa’s daughter (Aubree Hayward and Isabelle Weber-Concannon) takes pity on them, sort of, when she tries to engage the troupe as a distraction to her pending nuptials and demands a performance in exchange for a place to stay.

The group’s lead actor and cook (Aidan Correia) agrees to the contract and offers his own child, an apprentice cook and rather amateur actor (Elise Wilson, Ian Flock), to play the naughty Pinocchio.

The play within a play follows the original Pinocchio story published by Carlo Collodi in 1883, while maintaining a commedia dell’arte edge throughout, said Thomas.

“All the music has been composed by the MusiKal theatre class for this production specifically. Because of the dell’arte elements, there is extensive use of stock characters, masks, humour and improvisation –– no two performances will be alike.”

A follow-up to last year’s MusiKal production of Fiddler on the Roof as well as the student-directed Idiosyncrasies, a group of students have stepped up to the plate to take on  leadership roles this year, added Thomas.

“It has been our pleasure to work with a core of about 10 outstanding students for three or four years now, and with each show we are able to pass the reigns more and more to them,”  he said.

“With last spring’s Idiosyncrasies, the community was impressed at how complex and intelligent a student written show could be, and I think Pinocchio Del Arte is continuing growth along those lines. We did not write the script, but students have taken the lead on everything from day one onward.”

Students involved behind the scenes include choreographer Bethany Monaghan, costume mistress Georgia Rudeloff, stage manager Ian Spence, scene shop master Mackenzie Plovie, and taskmaster Alysha Brulé.

Musician/actors lending their talents include Aubree Hayward, Daniella Vermeulen (wigs), Torsten Raupach (fire eater), Stephen Favell (Master Cherry), and Hae Yeon Park (The Cricket).

Elaine Viel has returned to the theatre to take on duties as musical director, while Kyra Coulthard and James Wylie have also lent a hand with the production.

Shows run nightly tonight through Saturday and Dec. 6 to 10 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7:15 p.m.) A matinée will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. All shows take place at the Kalamalka Secondary Apple Box Theatre located at 7900 McClounie Rd., Coldstream.

For information or ticket reservations, contact Tickets ($7 for adults, $5 for students) are also available at the door and during lunch at Kalamalka Secondary in the front foyer.