The cast of Princess Margaret Secondary School’s musical production Mamma Mia are busy fine-tuning their performance in advance of opening night.
With about 40 cast and 15 crew members, the production promises an energetic and vibrant recreation of the hit Broadway show and film featuring ABBA’s classic songs. The production will be performed at the school from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 and at the Cleland Community Theatre from Feb. 7 to 10.
“I’d say this has been one of the most fun years for me because this crowd has started as Grade 9s and now they’re graduating —which is going to kill me — and they’ve learned so much and now it’s in their hands,” said Lori Grant, teacher at Maggie and the production’s director. “They’ve taken care of all of the little bits and pieces that normally I would have to be worried about.”
As for how these Grade 12 students identify with the roles they’re playing, it’s a mixed bag — some see an extension of themselves in their character and others, not so much.
“I’m not a mother so that’s kind of difficult to wrap my head around,” said Grace Robinson, who is double-cast as Donna Sheridan. “That and playing someone that’s more independent in a lot of ways than I am – that was a little bit difficult.”
“I found it hard to play someone so mature and has gone through so much, and trying to find their story within the play,” said Jenelle Scanlan, Robinson’s counterpart that shares the Donna Sheridan role for some of the performances.
“Well she’s an older woman, so she’s done lots of things like already had three husbands. And I’m a Grade 12 girl so it’s hard to play the character in that sense,” laughed Sarah Wood, who plays Tanya.
“The fashion sense is definitely not me, but other than that the character is definitely me and it just makes it so fun and easy to play,” said Chloe Ricketts, who plays Rosie.
“When I was looking for costumes for my role, I went into my closet and found everything that I needed exactly, these are all my clothes,” said Kevin Styba-Nelson, who plays Bill Anderson. “I am Bill, I like writing, I don’t want kids, I fit the character perfectly I just needed to do a good Welsh accent.”
“My character is very sophisticated and not able to be as open and fun-loving, I’m the totally opposite person,” said Hussain Sattar about playing Sam Carmichael. “I’m out there and I love doing things, I’m not afraid of wearing colour and he’s a very grey and white guy.”
Given that this will be their last high school production together, the Grade 12 cast feel bittersweet rehearsals are drawing to a close. They are happy they are leaving a legacy for the numerous Grade 9 students who have joined their troupe this year.
“My advice for the Grade 9s is just to work through it and keep going, it’s worth it,” said Scanlan.
“Remember to take time for yourself and get to know the person you’re playing, actually try to figure them out in a way that’s yours, not just what people to tell you to do,” added Robinson. Grant said the cast will be performing a sing-along version of the production on Feb. 10 at the Cleland Community Theatre. Tickets for the shows are available at the high school and the theatre.
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