If you told me that a group of elementary school students (aged 5-12) could learn and perform a play in a week, I wouldn’t believe you. That is, until I heard of Missoula Children’s Theatre – a theatre company that travels around the world to schools and communities and conducts auditions, rehearsals, and two performances in one week.
Missoula has come to Brackendale Elementary (one of the primary schools in Squamish) for the past 5 years. This year, I was lucky enough to be the accompanying pianist! I had never heard of Missoula before, nor ever visited Brackendale, but I love playing the piano, and I love working with kids. It seemed like the perfect job for me!
I did some research, and got the score a month before the performance. Now, I knew that they put this play on in a week, so I didn’t have high expectations on the length or quality of the songs. But there were over 8 original songs, with numerous repeats and underscores! I was even more amazed when I went into rehearsal for the first time last Wednesday. They had only begun practicing Monday, and they were already off script! They knew their cues and blocking (acting talk for where to go on the stage), as well as all of the songs and dance moves.
Each year is a different play – this year is Rapunzel. Characters include princes, Rapunzel’s “mother” who locks her in the tower, Rapunzel’s real parents, bridge trolls, pixies, gremlins, elves, a plethora of vegetables (including corn, potatoes, and mushrooms), and, of course, Rapunzel. The lines are witty, the songs are catchy, and the moral heartwarming.
The two performances were great! Everything came together – the dialogue, the stage, and the costumes. The audience was filled with families and friends, including some of my own.
This was a great opportunity to get in touch with the Squamish community, and be able to use my talents productively. I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future, and be a part of next year’s performance.