June 22nd, 2024

Wilson Middle School staging production of Peter Pan

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 14, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke The "Lost Boys" show off their strength, ready for any pirates that dare brave the stage during dress rehearsal for Peter Pan at Wilson Middle School.

Students at Wilson Middle School are gearing up for their presentation of Peter Pan, coming to the stage Dec. 19 – 21.

Looking to get every student involved as much as they can in production, the show has been double cast with three performances on each day, two in the day and one in the evening.

“We have eleven shows over three days, and it’s just a little bit too much for someone, especially like Hook and Pan, who have massive monologues,” said Lance McKay, who teaches Grade 6 classes at Wilson along with stage managing the show. “To do three times a day would just destroy your voice, so we have double cast.”

Last year Wilson Middle did a production of Moana under COVID-19 guidelines at the time. With Peter Pan opening to less restrictions, students will be able to perform to wider audiences as they showcase their talents on-stage.

“When we did Moana, it was very limited to who could come, with only family. This year, we have 140 seats and it is open to everybody,” said McKay. “We have other schools coming to see it, that is why we have those shows during the day.”

Choosing Pan for its duality in theme, students have found working on the piece to be key to their acting ability along with learning lessons for real world application.

Mary Forsyth, a grade six student who plays Wendy, says the role is complex with a broad emotional spectrum.

“She can be sweet and very sassy at the same time,” said Forsyth. “I always love changing my emotions from really happy to angry. I feel I have connected with all the emotions before, so I feel Wendy is a really good character that I can play.”

Playing the role of Pan, grade eight student Cam Sorensen says the role is nerve wracking but also very fun.

“Peter, like everyone else, is a very complicated character. He can switch from being a major narcissist to being a super giddy character,” said Sorensen. “It is really fun to challenge myself and see how fast I can switch between that angry side of him to that cold not caring side and putting on a mask and being happy too.”

Working through the complexities of the characters, students have developed a bond through the production.

“It has been a wonderful experience,” said Aleah Hamilton, grade eight student playing the roll of Captain Hook and Athena. “Fine Arts is a wonderful program, I would definitely recommend it. You may not be the most important person in the show, but when everyone comes together it is a beautiful thing.”

Emery Vissr, grade eight student playing the roll of John Darling, says the production has expanded their social circle while working together.

“It has been really great to work with a bunch of people, and it is something to do after school,” said Vissr. “The arts are really fun, it is a great area to get into. If you are nervous to audition, I think you should just go for it and try it. If you don’t make it, you always have next year.”

Learning real-life skills, students note the power the stage plays for handling anxieties. “I struggle with social anxiety, which can make going on stage very difficult for me. I have learned to manage my anxiety a lot better because of doing different plays and little skits that have helped me learn to calm myself,” said Sorensen. “There are a million people in this universe, and you are just one person. You have people who care about you and they are not going to judge you.”

Teaching real-life styles through the stage, Wilson Middle’s production of Peter Pan shows students the ability of the arts while putting on a great show for audiences.

“The community it creates, being involved with a show, it is so much fun,” said McKay. “You don’t get that kind of community in other areas. I have always found the theatre community quite close.”

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