After two years of COVID-19 restrictions and barriers, Oak Bay High’s senior musical stages The Little Mermaid in front of live audiences.
With a cancelled Mama Mia behind them, the team decided on the challenging work in June 2021, with low COVID-19 numbers and hopes of a live audience, said teacher Tim Bradshaw. They didn’t worry when three-hour rehearsals several days a week started just as case counts rose and a new variant took hold in October. This time they were licensed to record if necessary. Plus rehearsals “always fly by because we’re having so much fun singing and dancing,” said Ariel actor Olivia Bowyer-Smyth.
Gur Ben Dor, who plays Prince Eric, asks the audience to bear with the young actors and stage crew should there be any rust showing during the return to live performance.
“Everybody here is trying their best to put in real effort to make this special,” he said.
This stage production of The Little Mermaid features a large costume team (with supporting roles changing visually from creature to creature as scenes progress), stage crew, and 18 musicians in the pit at the Dave Dunnet theatre. The show features a cast of more than 40, including Olivia Bowyer-Smyth who plays Ariel alongside Ben Dor.
Bowyer-Smyth, a Grade 11 student, committed so far as to dye her hair red for the role. It’s a nod to the Disney movie, as is much of the nostalgic music throughout, she said, but “the ending is a little bit different.”
The Little Mermaid runs March 3 to 5, 9, 10 and 14 in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors available through the school office or online at oakbay.sd61.bc.ca.