Thursday, May 29, 2014

Livingstone Drama Club's 'Archie and the Wallflower' delights

Madi Harrison as Archie
C. Davis photos
Chris Davis

(Spoilers ahead)

Livingstone School's Drama Club presented 'Archie and the Wallflower' on Wednesday evening, May 28 to an expectant audience.  Those expectations were met and exceeded by their interpretation of the play, which was written by Kevin Stone.  We were treated to a simply but effectively staged light romantic comedy.

Think  'A Midsummer Night's Dream mixed with 'Little Shop of Horrors', leavened with Stone's light and effective touch on the humour button.

In the play, New Leaf Greenhouse owner Filmore Potts (Mattias Vanderplas) is facing foreclosure due to a dearth of paying customers.  His employees are also in a shambolic state. 

Matthias Vanderplas as Filmore Potts
Shy but passionate Polly (Josee Wiebe) and batty botanist Nate (Ryan Grove)
Polly Waters (Josee Wiebe) is a shy wallflower.  She talks to plants, but is somewhat surprised when one of them talks back to her after being brought to life by "Power Plant Solution #4", created by in-house scientist Nate (Ryan Grove).  He more distracted than mad as scientists go, with an unfortunate habit of finishing his experiments with thunderous explosions.  Polly's got a crush on him, but is too shy to reveal it. 
Elusive Pete (Gus Halibert) and impetuous Ivy (Chelby Glen)
Meanwhile, Ivy Vine (Chelby Glen) has a crush on Pete (Gus Halibert), who is immune to her charms, so she invests in the aforementioned  Passion Bouquet Love Potion to win his love.  Well, suffice it to say things go awry, Pete falls in love with the wrong girl, and resists Polly's advances.  She asks him at one point, while jabbing him in the chest with a finger, if she seems any different to him.  "You seem pokier", he replies.  He's fallen for Polly, after they coincidentally touch, setting off the potion.  Meanwhile, Nate has fallen for Ivy, under similar circumstances.  She's not a fan of science, but science loves her.

The play is littered with subtle one-liner's like "Mums the word", and "$2000, that's a lot of lettuce!"  The similillys and metafloras begin to flourish in the second act.

Adeline Halibert as Mrs. Stickleback, perhaps seeking greener pastures...
Archie, played by Madi Harrison, is the plant brought to life who becomes Polly's pal, and who ultimately sacrifices herself to save Nate after another of his experiments almost kills him.  She does so by donating her leaves, which have restorative properties, to Polly, who she has helped to blossom.  The potions begin to wear off.  However, the snobby Mrs. Stickleback (Adeline Hilbert) returns.  Earlier in the play she called the New Leaf Greenhouse "The dirtiest place in town".  However, on her return it is evident she drank the wrong glass of lemonade and is now turning into a plant, a situation that alarms Filmore.

Members of Mrs. Stickleback's Butterfly Club
By the end of the play most of the dilemmas posed at the beginning have been resolved.  Unfortunately, Archie remains ready to be planted six feet under, and Mrs. Stickleback is still green (and not with envy), but the young lovers have united with the appropriate partners, Jaffries from the bank (Katie McClung) has been mollified after a surprise discovery provides Filmore with the funds needed to save the greenhouse.  Cue "Build Me Up Buttercup", which is where we came in, a splashy finale for two of the cast, and lights up on a very pleased audience.

At intermission I spoke to Mrs. Krizan, who directed the play with Mrs Haliburt. She said the drama club began to work on the play in late January.  "We started rehearsing with lunch our read-throughs, and at the end of February we started with after school rehearsals, two days a week."

"This play appealed because we have this broad age range.  The jokes aren't so over the head that the kids saying them don't understand them," she said.  "There's a lot of twists and turns, and love triangles, and you'll see in Act Two that there are some things that younger audiences can very much relate to."

Mrs. Krizan said it was sometimes a challenge to get it all organized.  "There's a lot of conflicts, these kids are busy.  They have a lot of extracurricular involvement, which I understand.  I wasn't sure really how it all was going to turn out, but they are doing a magnificent job.

As for the importance of drama to her actors and crew she said "It is for some kids what basketball is for other kids.  It is their outlet, their chance to step outside themselves and be a character.  I think they get confidence, I think they get excitement, I think they get a sense that hey have contributed to something as a group, I think they develop friendships, I just think that it builds so much character for them."

"They understand what is involved in working together to produce a unified event.  The feedback that we always get in our wonderful school community takes them a long way.  Jessie Ferguson, she is one of my alumni's from a few years ago, she's here tonight.  She said, 'I miss it so much!"  I should have involved her in participating this year, but I had my tunnel vision on."

 After many years of involvement in the drama club, Krizan stepped away last year but  "I missed it terribly.  This year I made time, and I will continue to make time.  I missed doing my club.  It's my thing, that I coach.  It's my thing.  I probably got the bug in about grade 7, grade 8, and I have a drama minor from University."

Well acted, well presented, and well played, Livingstone Drama Club. Delightful.

Archie and the Wallflower
Livingstone Drama Club

Mrs. Mary Krizan, Mrs. Sharon Halibert 
:Amanda Baird, Aran Callan, Jaelle Vanderplas, Nick Vaters

Filmore Potts - Matthias Vanderplas
Polly Waters - Josee Wiebe
Pete Moss - Gus Halibert
Ivy Vine - Chelby Glen
Nate - Ryan Grove
Mrs. Stickleback - Adeline Halibert
Phyllis - Mina Wood
Clara - Emily Emblau
Maureen - Kataya McClung
Opal - Indie MacGarva
Customer 1 - Kelsey Norman
Customer 2 - Hailey Grove
Customer 3 - Janessa Dewart
Customer 4 - Seraiah Vanderplas
Mr. Jaffreys - Katie McClung
Mailman - Kale Taylor
Archibald (Archie) - Madi Harrison

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Mrs. Krizan, Mrs. Halibert and the cast and crew of Archie and the Wallflower! I'm so sorry I had to miss it, but Livingstone's drama productions are always next-to-none! Just because we're little, we're "big" in a lot of ways, including the arts... especially the arts!


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