As the school term resumes next week in Cranbrook, so does the Mount Baker Secondary School dramatic season. And Wild Drama is presenting a fall production that ties into local East Kootenay culture, with a coincidental reflection of certain current controversies.
Drama instructor Mary Hamilton is holding auditions on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 5, for the fall production — “The Lodge,” a comedy with 26 roles for males and females — almost an equal balance, and written by Hamilton herself.
“I was having trouble finding something that had the amount of roles we would need, with the right girl/boy ratio — and also something that would fit our students and their talents,” Hamilton said. “I was looking for something physical. And I wanted something local in flavour. So I asked myself what do people around here like? They like hunting and outdoors stuff.”
The play’s premise is a single mother and her teen-age daughter running a lodge, who’ve booked a school group from Calgary to do a team-building weekend.
“But in walks an old boyfriend, who’s a hunting guide, along with a trophy hunter and his entourage, and so they’re all double-booked, and everything ensues from that.”
Hamilton got the germ of an idea from the time she spent at a friend’s lodge, and further inspiration from the intricate set used in the Key City Theatre production of “Noises Off” a few years ago (directed by Dalton and Mary Hamilton).
The set will have a lot of doors, and stairs … I just wanted to have one location where people enter and exit, without changing the set around like in “Noises Off.”
“To put 26 people onto that set was a challenge, but I managed to find a way to do that.”
Hamilton has been workshopping the play over the past while. “I’ve had a group of people come over and read it aloud, so I can get a sense of it, and I do re-write after each time. So far it’s gone well.
Hamilton said that just before the last such rewrite, she read about the BC government’s proposed ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting. That ban is set to begin November 30 , 2017. “The Lodge” is set to open November 26, 2017. Hamilton decided to work some of the elements of this controversial issue into the play.
“It’s strange how it all worked out. It’s really interesting how the ideas all came about, and how they landed in my lap.”
Auditions are the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 5, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Drama room. All Mount Baker students are invited to try out.
“We’ll get all the people who want to audition in there and I’ll just see who’s there and who fits what roles, and we’ll start from there. We’ll start rehearsals the following week.”
In other MBSS drama news, the musical production slated for later this school year is “Seussical.” And Hamilton is also launching a long-form improv soap opera for studnets, for one lunch hour a week. And she’ll be setting a long-form improv troupe later this fall.
Watch these pages for details.