Royal Bay secondary in Colwood is gearing up for the return of live theatre to the school’s Teechamitsa Theatre with their performances of the musical Pippin.
The show, which tells the story of a young prince trying to find his extraordinary life purpose through a play within a play, will be the first performance with an audience the school has put on since the start of the pandemic in 2020. While the school has been able to organize some virtual and pre-recorded performances, the students starring in Pippin said there simply is no comparison.
“It means everything to me,” said Grade 12 student Taryn Mitchell, who performs the role of the Leading Player. “I have been performing since I was two, and it is my favourite place in the world to be. Just to be back with an audience, I am very excited for this to actually happen.”
Grade 12 student Remy Lassner, playing Charlemagne, is excited about experiencing his first-ever theatre performance in front of an audience. But while public health restrictions have lessened enough to allow the show to go on, it isn’t all business as usual for the cast and crew.
Actors will wear masks throughout the performance, props and microphones are not allowed to be shared and there remains the ever-present possibility that rules could suddenly tighten again, forcing the shows to be cancelled. But the students in the cast and crew are determined to push through the challenges.
“It has definitely been a lot of hard work and long hours preparing for this show, but it is worth every second of it for that feeling of performing live,” Lassner said.
As for what the audience can expect from Pippin – the original Bob Fosse-directed production made its Broadway debut in 1972 – Lassner said it is sure to be a “real experience.”
“It’s out there in a way that will bring the audience in, but it may also confuse them at the same time,” Mitchell added. “Expect some wild makeup and some wild acting.”
Being able to welcome the community into its theatre once again is huge for the school, said music director Karen Snowsell, even if shows will be restricted to 50 per cent audience capacity.
“The actors feed off of the energy of the crowd, and the laughter and everything else that comes with it,” she said. “I think we will get quite a good audience because people are a bit starving for live entertainment.”
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 9, 10 and 11 with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. A 2 p.m. matinee (doors at 1:30) is set for Saturday, March 12.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors and $6 for Sooke School District 62 students and RBSS theatre alumni. Find them online at SD62.schoolcashonline.com/fee/index. The receipt generated in the transaction will serve as the ticket.