Recent History – 1998
By Alethea Wiesner, Daily News Staff — Dec. 18, 1998
Rehearsals are gearing up for The Other Party, a children’s play to be performed by the South Peace grade 10 drama class this January.
The play, geared to a primary-level audience, is about two groups of children living on either side of a wall. Never having seen the other children, each group believes monsters live on the other side of the wall until Horton the gnome comes to tear it down.
“It’s all about children dealing with hatred and fear of the unknown, and the whole idea of peaceful coexistence” explained Fred Klem, drama instructor and director.
Although the play wasn’t written by the grade ten students, they’re responsible for everything from costumes to sets and props, to assistant directing and (of course) acting.
Klem said he selected The Other Party for two reasons: it could easily be adapted to his cast of 25. Secondly, children’s plays have great audience response, which makes sure everyone has a good time.
“They love it. The little guys are the best audience you can perform for. They love everything,”he explained. “You can’t make a mistake and they’re so appreciative.”
For many actors this is their first experience on stage and the positive audience helps build self-esteem, confidence and a good attitude about live performance.
“For the tens it’s good because it’s a very non-threatening kind of audience performance situation,” said Klem. “It’s a treat for everybody.”
Students will head out on Jan. 14 to Parkland, with primary students from Macleod and Devereaux busing in. That afternoon the grade 10 class will perform at Crescent Park in town. The next day they head to Pouce Coupe, later performing at Parkhill that afternoon with elementary students from Rolla bused in.
Until then, Klem’s job is to keep rehearsals organized and make the stage atmosphere a comfortable, non-threatening place.
“You have to feel you can stick your neck out without the fear that somebody’s going to chop it off”, he explained, saying it takes a lot of courage to be on stage.