Garden Valley Collegiate students’ latest drama offering will be greased lightning.
GVC students will be performing Grease in February.
Last year was the 40th anniversary of the popular movie that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and drama teacher and director of the play Gerald Pauls said it’s a classic.
“In a sense it’s every high school’s story, give or take,” he said. “Almost all the characters in the show are kids, high school aged kids, which makes it easy and fun for them as opposed to portraying older characters that they can’t relate to as well.”
The plot of GVC’s rendition stays pretty loyal to the original material, with a few minor changes to make it more school appropriate.
James Bergen plays Danny Zuko, Kaylee Fehr plays Sandy Dombrowski and Amber Reimer plays Patty Simcox.
The three students said they (and the rest of the student body) were excited when they learned they would be putting on Grease this year.
“Pretty much the entire gym erupted in screams,” Reimer said. “It was pretty exciting.”
Bergen said the hardest part of the rehearsal process has been getting into character. “In the play, Danny is a ladies man and he’s fairly confident in those abilities he has,” he said. “For me it’s hard getting into character and becoming a new person and creating that by yourself and sticking to that.”
“It’s challenging but it’s a good challenge,” he added. “It’s good to play with that.”
Reimer agreed that playing a character can be difficult when the character differs from you. “I’ve done a lot of different characters but Patty is definitely someone that I’d never pick for myself,” she said. “She’s very outgoing, she’s a cheerleader, which is something I’ve never done before. Trying to get into that mindset is challenging, but it’s very fun.”
“When they cast it, they knew what we were like and they had expectations,” Fehr said. “They wanted to give us a challenge, but a good challenge to fill our characters.”
Bergen also pointed out that portraying a character from the 1950s brings a new level to the challenge.
For Pauls and the students, one of the major draws of performing Grease is the songs.
“Most people know this show,” Pauls said. “They’re going to remember songs when they hear them. They’ve probably hummed them, whistled them through their lives. It’s a really fun show.”
The students said learning the choreography was fun but a bit of a learning curve. “Never having danced before… there’s so many steps,” Fehr said. “It’s like, oh, you’re eight counts ahead of me already! Let me just get in here.”
“I’m just really excited to bring all the aspects of it together, the singing and the dancing at the same time,” Bergen agreed. “Already it’s all coming together and it’s super fun. It’s a good challenge.”
“It’s really cool to see how the scenes interact with the songs,” Reimer said. “Then you put the dances in it. It’s really great to see it all come together.”
Pauls said the show is fun for the students performing it but also fun for the audience. “It’s heartwarming because you’re cheering on a bunch of kids who are heading off into life and so we all wish them well,” he said. “It’s a great show for senior students especially because they all have that experience of coming together as a group and they’re all heading off into the wide unknown, and here’s a story about people just like them doing the same thing.”
The students have been working hard since November to put the show together.
The show runs February 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the P.W. Enns Centennial Concert Hall. There will also be a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday the 16th.
Tickets are $10 and are available at GVC (call 204-325-8008) and at the Co-op Gas Bar.