The Play’s the Thing

Riverbend students bring Beauty and the Beast JR to the Maclab Theatre

 Live theatre was one of the many casualties of COVID, but a determined teacher at Riverbend Junior High School and his students are revitalising the art form with six performances of Beauty and the Beast JR in April. 

“It was interesting getting these kids into the program,” says teacher and director Cash Komick. “A lot of them thought, ‘Oh, drama games, those are fun,’ and then they come in and I have them doing choreography and singing in front of the group. They’re turning into amazing little performers.”

Eric Yuen will be playing the little broken teacup, Chip, in the performance. “I chose theatre because I thought it would be an interesting opportunity and because I can display some skills that I have,” he says. Munaf Iqbal, playing The Beast, admits that he chose theatre because he didn’t want to do band or art, but that he’s loving it nonetheless, and Yoma Mike-Ifeta is looking forward to his role as the handsome, swashbuckling Gaston. “I chose it because I like making jokes and talking a lot,” he says. “I thought, ‘Hey, why not take drama. This will help me in a lot of situations.’”

The troupe is receiving support from the drama program at Scona High School, which has a costume room that Komick describes as “insanely good.” He says all the high schools in the district have been willing to help out. “They provide us with free tickets to their shows so the kids can see the possibilities,” he says. “They provide mentorship. Some high schoolers came and helped the kids with lights and sound.”

The performances will be at the new Maclab Theatre at Lillian Osborne High School, running from April 18 to 20. Three separate classes, making up three different casts, will each put on two shows. Visit fringetheatre.ca for tickets to this classic tale of transformation and tolerance.

On Picture:
 One of the three casts that will be performing Beauty and the Beast JR. at the Maclab Theatre in April. This cast is led by Ashley Schimpf (centre) as Belle, Yoma Mike-Ifeta (to her left) as Gaston and Munaf Iqbal (to her right) as The Beast.

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