There’s a river of chocolate running across the Vanier Hall stage this week.
“One of the characters actually falls into it,” PGSS drama teacher Angela Finlay says of a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The students in Acting 11/12 and Stagecraft 11/12 have been hard at work getting things together, a task not made easier by the current labour dispute in the province’s schools.
“We’re a bit behind,” Finlay said. “We’ve got some kids working on the glass elevator and the chocolate waterfall sets, some checking costumes to make sure they fit.”
This isn’t the first play Finlay has worked on with students at PGSS, but it’s the first one she’s been in on since the beginning.
“I actually got the job here on Christmas Eve, when Steve Baker got a promotion to another job, so I finished off what he had started with Holiday Hotel.
“That was good, because it gave me some experience in putting on this kind of show.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was not a difficult choice for Finlay to make, given the constraints she was under.
“I needed a kid-friendly play, because we’ve invited some elementary schools in to see what can be done if they take these courses in secondary school.
“Honestly, there are only a couple of places online where you can get plays you can get licencing for in Canada.”
It also helped that some of the characters could be male or female, which meant Finlay wasn’t limited by the class composition.
While the Acting students are doing the, well, acting in the play, the Stagecraft students have been busy behind the scenes.
“They’ve been building the set, swing costumes and parts of the set. The chocolate river is quite long, and that all had to be sewn by hand.
“I’ve also got some students working with directing and stage managing. They’re going through the script, laying out where each character should be on stage at each time. It’s very much a student-led class.”
Finlay says she has done her best to work within the constraints she is under in the current labour dispute.
“We’ve lost a lot of set-up time. However, we’ve been working within the parameters we’ve been given, and the administrators at PGSS have volunteered to supervise the evening shows.
“The play means a lot to the students. They have put in so much hard work that we just had to find a way to make it happen.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be staged at Vanier Hall from June 4 to 7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. each night, with the show starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.
The majority of the proceeds are going to the Leora Wildi Fund, a PGSS student who is battling two forms of cancer. The fund is to assist her family with her medication costs.