There was some nervous peeking through the curtains, and some very excited whispers backstage. Occasionally teacher Kate Veinotte’s calm voice could be heard quieting pre-show jitters.
However, when they finally stepped on to the Playhouse stage Friday, July 20, the 27 children who took part in the 2012 Junior Drama School class at Upper Canada Playhouse behaved like seasoned troupers. They put on a great show.
“Welcome to the first ever Upper Canada Playhouse Olympics,” said senior students Conor Veinotte and Grant Wells, who assisted with the junior school last week. The two narrators introduced the participating nations, cheered on the determined competitors and (tongue in cheek) praised the sponsors of the wonderful UCPO.
“We have had a very busy week,” teacher Kate Veinotte told the large crowd of parents, grandparents and friends who came out to see the culminating performance of the drama school.
“This was an incredibly creative group we had this year. We decided that the Olympic Games were going to be the theme of this year’s school, and we brainstormed a lot of ideas for the play. I asked the kids, if you could come up with Olympic events of your own, what would you put in the games? What you are seeing is their ideas, complete with commercials.”
Of course, every Olympics must begin with the parade of nations. And if the nations at the UCPO were a little unexpected, well, that was just part of the fun.
The nation of New Yolk solemnly promised to “scramble” its opponents. Spudland swore its team would “mash these guys.” Limbotania defiantly vowed their athletes would “go low” while Seekey Land expected to be the craftiest contenders for the hide and seek competition. And Alphadopia made it clear that its team members were utterly confident of capturing s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g bee gold.
The Games were naturally thrilling, with loud cheers from the audience.
When they won the egg-and-spoon race, New Yolk stood for their anthem The Chicken Dance. Spudland won the potato sack race and proudly sang their anthem “One potato, two potato, three potato…”
After their sweeping victory in the limbo, Limbotania’s anthem, The Limbo Rock, had everyone toe tapping while Seekey Land’s dynamic gold in Hide and Seek led to a proud chorus of “Where is Thumpkin?”
As for Alphadopia’s taking of the laurels in the spelling bee, well, the whole audience could join in their national anthem “A B C D E F G, H I…”
Everyone knows how important commercial spots at the Olympics are to advertisers, so it was no surprise to see these young actors present some priceless ads.
Sweet Dreams Energy Drink guaranteed that athletes drinking it would get ahead. Cloud Shoes promised to be both “heaven on your feet” and “good for your soles.” The bilingual ad for Mattress Mart Shoe Depot claimed shoes so comfortable “they’re like mattresses for your feet.” And Zipster Drink declared its enormous benefits to athletes and “only $2.99!”
The show ended with the five teams, in the spirit of true sportsmanship and global friendship, passing around the coloured hoops and creating on stage the proud symbols of the modern Olympics.
Jackie McCormick, stage manager at Upper Canada Playhouse, worked with the class, teaching how props are made, and ran the lights for the show. Rosemary Laurin came to help for the week, and arrived with treats for the young actors at the end of the play.
Artistic director Donnie Bowes made sure that everyone went home with a certificate of accomplishment, telling the children they had created a “wonderful, wonderful show.”
“The kids had so much fun,” Kate Veinotte said. “They came up with everything, the sports, the ads, the countries and the anthems. They were incredibly hard-working and very creative. I found myself wishing there really was a Kids Olympics.”