Past and present Notre Dame High School drama students will be showcasing their new play and helping a local family in the process.
The Notre Dame students were among only 11 schools across Canada chosen to take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland this month by the U.S.-based American High School Theatre Festival.
The 21 students will give Red Deer residents a sneak peak of the play on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Centre. The family-friendly performance is free, but audience members are encouraged to make a donation, with all money going to the Lopez family who recently lost their home and most of their belongings to a fire at their home. The family has been invited to attend the event on Wednesday.
The play, titled the Seersucker Toady, was written by Edmonton-based playwright Stewart Lemoine, especially for the 21 students. The play is set in the 1930s and tells about a young man who leaves his hometown of Innisfail to go to college. He returns aboard a Zeppelin, with a group of International orphans, to Innisfail only to find that he isn’t welcomed back with open arms.
The play offers the flavour of 1930s with special costumes, including gingham dresses and the lead character in a seersucker jacket.
Director Melissa Mayville said the students found out in May 2009 that they were chosen to take part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and they have been working throughout the year on the play and raising money for their trip. Considered the largest fringe festival on the planet, the Edinburgh event draws a million people to the city and showcases more than 3,000 plays.
Mayville said the experience has allowed the students to work with a professional playwright and will enable them to see a variety and diversity of theatre they have likely never been exposed to before.
Vanessa La Grange, a recently graduate of Notre Dame High School, is one of the narrators of the play.
“I’ve always loved acting and this is what I want to do with my life so this is a great opportunity to go over and be a part of the largest fringe festival in the world,” La Grange said.
“It is the trip of a lifetime.”
Another recent Notre Dame graduate, Brett van der Voort, is also excited to go on the trip after being involved in theatre for the past four years of high school.
He plays the character Hamish, one of the citizens of Innisfail in the play.