Students at Crofton Elementary School possess some amazing acting talent and teacher Phaedra Fairwell brings out the best in them.
We’ve seen it before in previous productions like last year’s Oliver Twist. The trend continued in the latest school performance of Cinderella and the Substitute Fairy Godmother at the Crofton Community Centre May 16, directed by Fairwell.
The two title characters were both great, Sydney Brownlow as Cinderella and Emma McLean as the substitute fairy godmother Lucretia who botched her spells and created mayhem amid the mixing and matching of fairy tales.
The entire cast was strong. The students all projected their voices well through the considerable dialogue, exuding a self-confidence from knowing their lines well.
It was also a very funny play and the kids pulled off some deadpan lines beautifully, adding to the humour.
They had been rehearsing since January, intensifying the number of sessions as the play date neared and it showed. Fairwell found the script on-line and made some modifications.
“I read an excerpt from it and thought it was quite well-written,” she said. “We changed a few of the lines to be appropriate for Canada.”
The students worked on little scenes daily, every lunch hour and once a week after school. During the last three weeks, they were engrossed in it.
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Keeth Winia, who portrayed King Vladmir, said to Fairwell at the end of the afternoon dress rehearsal.
The kids scurried from the scene and couldn’t wait to get back a few hours later for the evening performance.
“They worked really, really hard on this,” noted Fairwell, who’s in her sixth year at the school.
Brownlow loved every minute of her part and the play itself. “It was great,” she said.
Brownlow ended up learning her lines in three days. “Over spring break, I tried to learn as many as possible,” she noted.
Brownlow didn’t get to wear a beautiful gown like the original Cinderella, but she didn’t mind. “It was interesting,” she conceded. “The ball is so different. I like how it was a comedy.”
As a Grade 7 student, Brownlow is a veteran of Crofton Elementary plays Oliver Twist and Treasure Island two years ago.
She didn’t feel any pressure being in a title role. “It was nice having a bunch of people around me to support it,” Brownlow said.
The supporting cast included: Danaya Brown (Hortense); Emma Greenwood (Boss); Natasha Perry (Esperanto); Brook Masur (Alberta); Travis Tuplin (Fabio); Ramona Darwin (Fabreeze); Abby Smith (Messenger); Jordane Legros (Maurice); Ayla Van Ham (Wembly); Penny Kitchen (Wasabi); Titus Kennedy (Merwin); Abby Kronberg (Queen Shania); Keeth Winia (King Vladimir); Noah Findlay (Prince Charmful); Paytynn Winia (Noxima); Savanah Sanchez (Panteen); Morgan Hilstad (Rumpelstiltskin) and Makayla Duerksen (Pinocchio).
Some of the character names alone have comedic overtones while the overlapping fairy tales are evident from the appearances of Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, The Three Little Pigs, and the Big Bad Wolf.
Courtiers were: Rory Polack, Hilstad, Ryan Farquhar, Duerksen, Caiden Wilson and Brown.
It was a treat for the students to perform on a real stage at the Community Centre rather than in the middle of their school gym.