Not your average high school play

Kalamalka Secondary School drama students give 30-ish reasons not to be in a play.

Duncan Gillespie

Duncan Gillespie

A group of Kalamalka Secondary School drama students are discovering that staging a school play can be rather dramatic.

And we’re not just talking about what happens on the stage.

It’s hard enough to get a group of young people to decide on which play they want to do, you have to appease all the different personalities: the wannabe Rachel Berry aching to be Maria in West Side Story; the pariah who loves all that Shakespeare iambic pentameter stuff; the shy kid who wants to hide behind the tree prop.

It’s enough to come up with 30 reasons why not to stage a play.

In fact, that’s just what the Kal drama kids are doing when they bring their latest theatrical presentation to the school’s stage starting today.

“It took us a significantly long time to choose a play to do this year,” said production head Ian Pusey, Grade 11. “Someone wanted to do a musical,  while others wanted a drama as they thought it would be easier.”

Pusey, too, had a specific play in mind, but that resulted in a script ripped to pieces and sent to the trash can.

That’s when the team’s head honcho, drama teacher Shon Thomas, stepped in and suggested his students act out their real-life dilemma on the stage.

Hence, 30 Reasons Not to Stage a Play was born. Make that 30-ish reasons, as the students had a lot to say on the matter.

Taken from an actual script, the students wrote 70 per cent of the content, adding their own embellishments and personalities to flesh out story.

Every problem that ties in with putting on a play is clarified in the production, along with some reasons that you probably never even knew could be problems, said Grade 10 student Maia Fehr, admitting she did have some reservations at first.

“There’s a lot of humour that comes from us and the audience is let on an inside joke,” she said. “For a while I was kind of nervous about the play, asking myself ‘what if the audience doesn’t get it?’”

Ayla Winston, the aforementioned Grade 10 student who was gunning to do a musical, said she has had to sharpen her comedic chops to do something as ironic as playing a version of herself in this play-not-within-a-play, or something to that matter.

“You wouldn’t think there is a plot, but we get there in the second half… It’s not what you would expect,” she said.

Besides lampooning and exaggerating some of those personality traits i.e. the drama queen, the social pariah, the stud, the play also hits on some serious issues such as anxiety, stereotyping, and relationships.

“It has some serious undertones, but many are taken as a joke,” said Grade 12 student Cassy Lukey.

“It’s up to the individual to interpret,” added  Pusey.

Like they said, this is not your typical high school play.

Kal Secondary’s presentation of 30-ish Reasons Not to Be in a Play stages at the school’s theatre at 7:30 p.m. nightly, today through Saturday and Dec. 3 to 6, with a matinee Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 students/seniors and $7/adults at the door, which opens 15 minutes before the production. Food bank donation will be accepted.