Belle (Paige Ouelette) confronts Maurice (Sebastian Guzman Leal). (Photo by Don Bodger)

Beauty And The Beast being performed by Chemainus Secondary drama students

Cast rounding into form during the final week of rehearsals before the big show

It’s almost showtime for Chemainus Secondary School drama students.

The school’s Grade 9-12 drama group is staging Beauty And The Beast for three performances next week under the direction of band/drama teacher Siobhan Anderson and dance teacher Kim Magnan.

“This year we have two drama classes going at the same time,” explained Anderson during a Monday rehearsal. “We have the acting side and the technical group.”

There are about 40 students involved overall.

Current classes began in early February and the rehearsals for the show started in March. Selecting a show led Anderson to another classic.

“We tried to pick something we knew our audience would enjoy – family-friendly and everyone knew the story,” she said.

“We have a lot of creativity going into the show, but it is very true to the story. There’s definitely a lot of humour written into the show.”

Rehearsals have increased in intensity with less than a week until the show opens next Tuesday, June 4 at 9:15 a.m. with a dress rehearsal/daytime performance for elementary students and then the main productions Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the secondary school’s multi-purpose room.

Tickets are available at the school weekdays from 11:35 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and at the door. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students and a $25 family rate for two adults and two children.

“It should be a really good show,” said Anderson. “The kids have put a lot of work into it and they’re a motivated group.”

Grade 9 student Richard Kim plays one of the lead roles as the Beast.

“I’m kind of nervous,” he admitted. “I wasn’t expecting to get into the play, but I don’t mind it.

“Everybody’s hard working and everybody’s doing the best they can.”

Grade 12 student Emily Reid is assuming the role of Gaston with energy and enthusiasm.

“It’s going really good,” she said. “The challenging part is keeping a straight face while making a kissy face toward Belle and staying in that constant ‘I’m better than anyone’ kind of thing.”

Paige Ouelette, a Grade 9 student, has the high-profile part of Belle. Ironically, namesake Paige O’Hara originally voiced and sang as Belle in Beauty And The Beast.

“It’s so nerve-wracking,” conceded Ouelette. “I’m young and there’s so much talent in this room. It’s so hard.”

She said common traits between her and Belle are evident, although Ouelette figures she’s not as sassy as Belle.

“Belle and I are close in personality. It’s just learning her lines and how she talks.”

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Beauty And The Beast cast members, from left, include: Sebastian Guzman Leal as Maurice; Daisy Wright as Mrs. Potts; Jade Reinsch as Babette; Dyson Blitterswyk as Lumiere and Cherish Winia as Chip in front. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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