Students from Caledonia Secondary’s drama club are off to New Westminster for a provincial competition in May following a winning northwest zone performance in Prince Rupert the end of February.
Interrupting Vanessa, which follows the impact on a 11-year-old girl of the death of her father, was one of four plays staged by schools from around the region.
The production won five awards — excellence in a lead role for Emilie Pouladi, excellence in a supporting role for Owen Faetz, excellence in lighting design for Johanna Hecker, excellence in technical rehearsal and excellence in set design.
The provincial gathering at Douglas College in New Westminster will be the first of its kind since COVID hit and could attract up to 10 productions from around the province.
“It’s actually less of a competition and more of a celebration,” said Caledonia teacher and drama club sponsor Graham Wojdak.
Interrupting Vanessa touches on the process of dealing with grief — with students describing it as a ‘dramedy’, with the last scene bringing out a heart-warming and comedic aspect.
As important as the on-stage presence is of Interrupting Vanessa’s four actors, the four students involved in the set design, lights and other key elements are just as crucial to producing the show.
One production trick they’re using is drawing out the set on a sheet of grid paper, so that furniture and other items can be placed in the correct position, no matter where the play is staged.
Wojdak gives full credit to former Caledonia drama teacher Robin MacLeod for that technique.
The cast includes Owen Faetz who plays Timmy Fibbins, Will Georgelin who plays the father, Savannah McDames who plays the mother and Emilie Pouladi who plays the main character, Vanessa.
Backing them up are lighting technician Johanna Hecker, sound technician Domanic Davis, stagehand Joey Pouladi and stage-hand Harnoor Basra.
Local residents will have a chance to see Interrupting Vanessa for themselves at a one-time performance April 12 at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre. The performance runs for just under an hour.