Friday, October 23, 2015

Masquerade Madness at Matthew Halton

Josh Davis - On the evening of Thursday October 22 students at Matthew Halton High School presented the play they had written and work-shopped for Experiential Week, Masquerade Madness: A Mermaid's Tail. Masquerade Madness was a humorous romp, featuring mythical characters and set in High School. As the evening of the masquerade approaches, it is up to the de-powered Witch to prevent a jealous Mermaid from ruining the dance. The production was created and workshopped entirely by students as part of Halton’s Experiential Learning Week.

Merm the mermaid was introduced as a sympathetic antagonist, carted around in a tank of water by her loveable but slow friend, Rumple, presumably Rumpelstilzchen. Jealous of her colleagues’ dancing abilities, she asked the Witch to grant her legs. However, the Witch was currently powerless, having abused her magic to silence a Prince at curling. This prompted Merm into a villainous plot to ruin the masquerade.

The Witch was presented as somewhat the-only-sane-woman in the piece. Her peers are portrayed as either malicious or ignorant, serving as roadblocks in her attempts to save the masquerade. Even her Fairy Godmother is too busy vacationing to help. Merm, though antagonistic, was also a fish out of water. Her motivations were well fleshed out, and she was quite relatable. In fact, as her peers were presented the audience almost ended up rooted for her, were it not for the intervention of the Witch. This lent itself well to the play’s unexpected and chaotic ending, which fulfilled the title of the piece.

The play was rich with comedic moments, from portions involving the Wizard Teacher’s lucky Ninja-Turtle underpants, to the wonderful banter between Merm and Rumple. My personal favourite moment was when the Mermaid attempted to frame the Witch using a broom. “But I’m only sixteen,” the Witch declared. “Everybody knows you have to be eighteen to ride a broom!”

Following the feature cookies and refreshments were served, and the audience was given the opportunity to mingle with the cast.

Blake Coombs prepares to enter stage right
“There were kids involved right from grades seven to eleven,” said Kevin Sheen, a grade seven instructor at the school, who supervised the project. “They did it. They came up with the characters, they came up with their proper, their costumes, everything.”

“It was phenomenal to see this happen,” he said. “Maron Coates was our guest instructor. He kind of pulled it all together. He took their ideas, and then came back and said ‘here’s your ideas, and this make sense as a play, and lets work from there'.”

J. Davis and T. Lucas photos

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