On Wednesday I went to watch the first show of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory presented by Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS).
I was really impressed by their production and it actually made me wish I were in high school again (well, not really my high school because I was a nerd and nobody ever chose me for the soccer team. What I really meant is that I wish my high school had been that cool).
Usually when you watch high school productions, the vocals or the performances tend to lack quality, or you simply accept a lower-quality show because these are not supposed to be professional productions. But with LDSS, you can actually forget you are at a high school musical.
In fact, I heard about the great LDSS productions when I first moved to Burns Lake, so I knew they must have been doing something right.
For this particular performance, students had been practicing with the help of a German opera conductor (again, I really wish my high school had been this awesome). He not only helped students with their vocal techniques, but he also assisted with the production of their show. Him and Rayanne Charlie, LDSS drama instructor, were a powerful duo training these students. And trust me, it shows.
Not surprisingly, the characters did a really good job with their vocals as well as their performances. When one character was singing, the others kept focused, paying attention to what was going on at the scene and still acting accordingly. Actors were mindful and present throughout the entire show. In my opinion, one character really stood out – Charlie. I honestly thought he was a professional singer and actor (maybe he is, and if he isn’t, he should definitely consider it).
Their costumes alone were enough to make a lasting impression. I can only imagine how much time and effort it must have taken to produce all those Oompa Loompa outfits, not to mention their hair and make-up. To move objects on stage, girls in fairy costumes would gracefully move things around, adding a bit of magic to the show.
The scenarios had so many little details that it was almost impossible not to realize all the care and love put into this show. In the candy man’s station, for example, all the chocolate bars read ‘Willy Wonka.’ They didn’t just randomly pick up a chocolate bar. They also decorated the entire multi purpose room with paintings hanging from the ceiling and around the stage.
But what really made it a great show was not the stage decoration, the costumes, their vocal techniques or even their acting skills. What really created the magic world of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Burns Lake that night was the energy of the students. You could feel their vibrant energy and excitement even before you heard their voices or saw their expressions. I am sure everybody in the audience went home a little bit more energized that night.
It’s a very positive thing that a high school in our area can put together of quality show such as this one. It’s great to see that students were so committed to this project and they wanted it to be the best it could be. Art can elevate someone’s spirit and it certainly contributes to students’ self-esteem. And who knows, maybe some professional actors or singers will be discovered in one of these productions. So congratulations to LDSS’ students and staff. If you haven’t seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory yet, you can still check it out on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.