A well-choreographed variety show captivated a large audience at Ecole Boreale on April 18.
The bilingual performances featured every class from Kindergarten to Grade 11.
Sarah Iris Foster, the brains behind the show, spent a busy fortnight working with the students and their projects.
The Baie-Comeau, Que., native, who has a degree in theatre, was in Hay River for the second time after presenting similar workshops in 2011.
A group of high school students had enjoyed the experience so much they asked their principal, Stephane Millette, to bring her back this year.
Thursday night’s show started off with a creative interpretation of a natural disaster. Grade 3 & 4 students took on the role of newscasters reporting on the aftermath of a meteor hitting northern Saskatchewan. As a result of the massive explosion, Canadian cities and landmarks were displaced: the West Edmonton Mall was located next to Princess Alexandra School and Yellowknife, surrounded by all the other NWT communities, was Canada’s largest city.
Enthusiastic students lip-synced and gestured to their own pre-recorded newscasts, meaning they didn’t have to go through the arduous task of memorizing text.
Grade 3 & 4 teacher Jessica Gilbert said the project is good fun, but it’s also part of the grading system.
“We evaluate them based on how well they read and perform in front of an audience,” she said.
Grade 5 & 6 students kept the show going with a 15-minute sketch in which students encounter new classmates who possess odd superpowers. Super Candy can turn anything into – you guessed it – candy, one student can read minds, while another is a grammar expert. The students were able to switch the dialogue from English to French and vice versa with ease, allowing the audience to follow every step of the way.
Grade 7-11 students, who told the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in 10 innovative ways, performed the last portion of the show.
William Shakespeare’s tale about two young lovers, whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families, struck a particular chord with younger Ecole Boreale students, who did not hesitate to share their disgust any time kissing was involved.
In one scene, the story is acted out by a couple of dogs, and it takes place on a balcony of the Mackenzie Place highrise in another.
Foster, who has been teaching theatre to people of all ages for roughly 10 years, said she emphasized the importance of the project over its actual content.
“It’s a good way of getting people to step out of their comfort zones and work as a team,” she said.
A travel guide by trade, she was excited about the opportunity to go to Inuvik and present similar workshops there for a week.
— Myles Dolphin