It’s coming to the end of our first semester, and once again the Nakusp Secondary Musical Theatre course has been prepping for its class-end project, the performance of “A Little Princess,” by Andrew Lippa. This is the fifth full-length musical performance in the history of the course, and some of the seasoned members are of the opinion that it might be one of the best, with dramatic costuming, complicated vocals and a touching story of a young girl’s struggle with tragedy, and those who would abuse it for their own selfish gains.
But how did we get to this point? Myself having been in the class for almost three years, I’m pretty familiar with the process, though it’s noted how much in itself it has evolved.
Any course involving artistic performance teaches us to creatively express (in the literal sense) ourselves, emotions and to portray pieces of art created by talented professionals. But one of the more significant aspects we practice in the course, under the teachings of Tessa Holden (dramatic direction), and Rick Haller (vocal direction), is confidence, and the very ability to express. As with all things, some of the students are more experienced than others, some more talented in varying aspects, but from what I’ve seen, there are very few that do not improve themselves over the time of the course, even those with little enthusiasm.
Each course starts with what might be one of my favourite parts, games. These games are specifically created as “theatre sports.” These games are not strictly competitive, but intended to hone skills in communication, interpretation and most importantly, cooperation. Through these exercises we learn to trust each other enough to create a foundation strong enough to carry a performance. One of which was our Remembrance Day presentation for the school, which received a wonderful reception, being dubbed as moving and perfectly executed. Though this should be a confidence boost, it hasn’t prevented many from being anxious about our upcoming production.
The difficulty of one-hundred-and-forty to two-hundred-and-ten minutes of class time a week, as well as a specific curriculum, is that it limits our rehearsal time, and even with credited practice outside of school, it’s been challenging to polish the rough edges in time with our deadline. On top of this are the pressures to memorize lines and songs that are coupled with other schoolwork (how could we forget?).
But I personally feel that despite these struggles, this is to be deemed as yet another entertaining performance from our class of grade nine to twelve students, who have worked with much effort towards an “A” worthy-performance, as well as a rewarding applause.