Another season of the Big Picture theatre school is under way. We’re a much smaller class this year due to the restrictions of social distancing.
This has its advantages: For one thing, the more intimate arrangement means I can spend more time with each student and participate more fully in the exercises, and the students get to know each other a lot better than in a bigger group.
Also, we’re doing a lot of film, which is easier to do with a small class. With 30+ kids standing around getting bored while half a dozen do the work, it would have been tough. This year, I can involve the whole group in some films! Before we got locked down again we made some beauties. Check out S’Witchy, The Magic Bullet, and A Sweet Gift!
In past years, with an early class and a late class, I’d have to write the scripts so they could be rehearsed within those classes, so we’d all meet for group rehearsals as we got closer to Showcase and the students would be looking at each other wondering why they’d never met this person before. This year, that’s not happening!
Students learn communication and self-confidence skills through the medium of theatre, including improv, scene study, some film exercises and workshop-style classes.
Classes are held Monday evenings.
All students are given a role in the end-of-year Showcase performance. Showcase will be April 23 & 24, 2021.
See you there!
*well… provided nobody eats any more undercooked bats. We’re still on lockdown here in Alberta for the foreseeable.
Here’s the story so far, the stops we’ve made on the road we’re on.
The Honker House Family Reunion – April 12 & 13, 2019
The Honker spinsters live in a rambling mansion that they’re unceremoniously selling. The safe is empty, and so is the grandfather clock where they hid the money, plus there’s nothing buried behind the tree in the yard like there was in the good old days.
Unknown to them, they’re still richer than Christmas pudding. Not only that, but their mad scientist nephew’s creations are going to save the day in a way nobody anticipated at this year’s family reunion. After all, his cloning formula and Doorway of Youth had been long since forgotten about, and “bread in captivity” didn’t turn out to be the hit he wanted at the restaurants. But never fear, there’s a resort in Tahiti with their name on it!
As the program ages, so do the students, and this year saw the departure of the Klassen family dynasty – Keltie, who had been in every show since 2016’s Spy Camp: Confidential, aged out and away. Her sister Savanah joined us that year as well, and their brother Denzyl proved a capable and adept tech at our Showcases for the next four years. Their parents were huge supporters of the program, and Deanna’s baking and wardrobe creations over the years were a blessing.
Tim Hill also joined us in 2016 & 17, found something else to do on Monday nights for the next season, then returned for the Honker House reunion.
They’ll all be sorely missed.
The Murderless Mystery Dinner Theatre – April 20 & 21, 2018
2018 saw the departure of two students who had been with the program since the beginning, Evan and Jordan. I wrote them into the script as two rappers, D-Vo and Willy Nilly. In the show, two local high school students devise a plan to see their favorite rappers at an upcoming show. With the assistance of a tippling teacher, some good friends who go all in with them, and a magical genie, they become the rappers themselves and continue the tour.
The Rising Stars Convention – April 28 & 29, 2017
Roger is called away for some film and tv work, and in his absence the students decide to take the initiative to impress the guest directors who have volunteered to supervise in his absence. Unfortunately nothing ever works out as it should, and by the time he returns his students have all landed roles in major movies leaving him with no roles in the films he was originally in, and no students for the upcoming year.
It all worked out beautifully in the end, of course, but that’s another story…
2016 Showcase – Spy Camp Confidential & Paragon Theatre Grand Opening – April 15-17
Springtime 2016 saw the Beaverhill Players host their first show as the new managers of the Paragon Theatre, and they hosted a huge slap-up binge at the Grand Opening. The Beaver Regional Arts Centre was renamed back to its original moniker, and to celebrate, the Players threw a three-day party around the Juniors Showcase, called Spy Camp Confidential. We played movies and invited back some of the performers from the previous autumn’s variety show, and a great time was had by all!
2015 Showcase – The Great Big Wild West Hero Show – April 17 & 18
2015’s Showcase script was based on the true story of Palisades, Nevada, a town which staged mock gunfights for the benefit of tourists brave enough to get off the train and wander around during its scheduled stops. Palisades earned a reputation as a lawless and dangerous yet exciting town to visit, but the whole town was in on the joke.
In reality it was a peaceful, average mining town and didn’t even have a sheriff.
For our fourth Showcase play we sang some Journey, made up a few skits, and undertook a treacherous journey into darkest Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood had decided to leave his life of crime and turn to an equally lucrative but legitimate business. He and his band of merry men make sports equipment, including the finest Stick of Hockey in all the land – the Sher-Wood SlapStick!
By the time the first half of Showcase ended, we’d done the Time Warp again, played some games, showed off a few talents and had some fun. Next thing you know, intermission’s over and Jack’s waking up on the sofa to find that he’s in a really odd dream. This is how we spent our evenings on April 19 & 20, 2013. Click here to read the program, including our list of talented young actors.
In 2012 we presented Jake Tkaczyk’s adaptation of Peter Pan as well as a play by Martha Swintz called The King’s Creampuffs.
Class size had grown from our first year to 24 students from our initial baker’s dozen of 13, indicating the need and interest for a group such as this in the community. We had our Showcase in June and it was a huge success, but it conflicted with Holden’s annual Farmer’s Day and Soapbox Derby weekend and was a little too close to final exams for the students, so after this we decided to move Showcase to April where it’s been since then.
Junior Players Showcase – 2011
This was the culmination of our first year of drama. Thirteen students divided into two groups did some tableaus, improv, and then performed a Frankenstein adaptation by founder Jake Tkaczyk as well as Robert Fontaine’s Another Cinderella.