It was a long time coming.
A performance of Brave, a youth variety show conceived by Stephanie Roth, was originally planned for the spring or early summer to entertain residents at the Chemainus Health Care Centre. It was delayed due to a variety of circumstances, including COVID restrictions, but finally happened on Oct. 8 at the centre and “it was a huge success,” noted Roth.
It was a glorious day for the much-anticipated show. The performance took place in a courtyard located within the centre but outside in the fresh air for the safety of residents and participants alike.
“The residents were plentiful and engaging,” observed Roth. “There was even one woman who was conducting the performances.”
Roth heard back from Dale Cochrane at the centre and the response was all positive. He wasn’t able to be there himself, but related the residents and staff thought it was a marvellous show.
Cochrane thanked Roth and the students for the hard work they put into it.
“It was lovely to hear that,” remarked Roth. “I know we all had a super time completing the project. I am so proud to have gone on this incredible journey with this fine group of young people. I will miss sharing their creative spirits. I am so proud and honoured to give back to this community. Knowing that we made people feel joyful makes me very happy. I hope this is just the beginning and not the end of offerings like this one.”
The girls wore masks for the larger numbers in the program, but not for their solos.
The health care centre was supposed to be the first show for the group, but ended up being the fourth. Brave played at Eden Gardens in Nanaimo first and then the Ladysmith Little Theatre and Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre before the health care centre engagement.
Roth added there was one snag to the proceedings due to COVID. Group member Ace/Van Kopp “had worked so hard on this project and wasn’t able to complete it. It was too bad but the show had to go on.”
Being part of the cast was memorable for Laura Parkyn, 15, a Grade 11 student at Cowichan Secondary School.
“Being able to go out to different places and perform, it was a real cool experience and something I’d never considered before,” she said.
Parkyn has done dancing since she was three and singing and acting since the age of seven, but this show took all those talents she’s developed over the years to a whole other level under Roth’s direction.
“If I’m able to, I’d like to get a degree in musical theatre,” said Parkyn. “It’s so fun and social.”
The social aspect was personified, first and foremost, by the camaraderie within the cast. Some of them only knew each other casually before their training for Brave, but have now become good friends.
“We definitely clicked right away,” Parkyn indicated.
The other part that clicked for them was with the audience.
“Being able to look them in the eyes and see them smiling and dancing and singing along to the songs they knew, a lot of them seemed to love it so much,” observed Parkyn.
That especially proved motivating for her while the show’s set-up for individual and group numbers was also appealing.
“We also had our individual things and it gave us our own chance to shine,” Parkyn explained.
While Brave has concluded, it’s likely just the beginning for the girls who long committed to doing the rehearsals first that led to the shows. Parkyn is already in two other plays as main characters, including one with the Cowichan Musical Society to be staged in February.