Copy icon

Fringe Actors Take Us Backstage!

Fringe Actors Take Us Backstage!

The SJS Fringe 2023 is coming up fast! Here some of the cast members of the various productions take us behind-the-scenes on their rehearsal process and what to expect from their particular pieces!

Izzy LeBlanc (Grade 7) – No Body to Murder

Tell us about the piece you are rehearsing…

The Grade 7 Fringe is a little play called No Body to Murder. It’s about a quiet little hotel in Nova Scotia called the Come On Inn, and this week at the Come On Inn is very unusual. I can’t say anymore or else I’ll spoil it!

What is your role in the production?

I play a lady named Ms. McGarragher, who is the manager of the hotel.

Have you been involved with the Fringe before? Why do you enjoy being involved and what are you most looking forward to this year?

This is my first year of doing Fringe, and I’ve been looking forward to it for years! I watched fringe for the first time in Grade 5 and ever since that moment I was so excited to be involved. I’m so excited to watch the Atrium turn into a theatre and perform No Body To Murder.

Rayi Zou (Grade 8) – Romeo and Juliet

Tell us about the piece you are rehearsing…

The play that we are rehearsing for Fringe is a shortened and simplified version of the famous Shakespearean Tragedy Romeo and Juliet. It was written by William “The Bard” Shakespeare between 1591 – 1596, William Shakespeare took inspiration from a poem written in that era and turned it into Romeo and Juliet. The play takes place in Verona, both Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are from extremely wealthy families, but the families both loathe one another. The play is about two star-crossed lovers that face the consequences of being mortal enemies.

Currently in rehearsals, we have just gone off-book which means we have memorized all of our lines and blocking notes. Blocking notes are stage directions and what we do on stage. We are allowed to look at notes when we are offstage or in the wings. We are also in the process of refining our craft which involves running through the play multiple times and revising our lines. Last Friday, we also went on a field trip to learn how to fight with swords, this allowed us to choreograph a fight scene which will be incorporated into the play. Rehearsals are crazily fun, full of laughter and overall a great time.

What is your role in the production?

I am playing Mercutio, who is Romeo Montague’s best friend. On the surface, Mercutio can often be seen as a cheerful character who loves teasing his friend about his failed love. Though in a wider sense we can see through Mercutio’s death that it symbolizes what unnecessary wars can do to communities and even the entire world. Mercutio can be seen broken in his final scene and almost like he’s “breaking character”, he then says two famous lines “You may find me a grave man” and “A plague on both your houses”. This represents how he is sick of the two families fighting and he hates not just the Capulets but his own house for making this happen. This further engraves Shakespeare’s message of romantic love and the power of tragic fate.

Have you been involved with the Fringe before? Why do you enjoy being involved and what are you most looking forward to this year?

Everyone in the current Grade 8 Theatre Ensemble has been involved with Fringe before. Fringe is more than just memorizing lines, acting the play and creating a set, it’s a unique experience and a tradition.

I asked other members of the ensemble this question. Rami Aboulhosn says that he thoroughly enjoys Fringe, because it is a good learning session that empowers you by exploring many different aspects such as blocking and memorizing. Rami also has the lead role in the production this year which gives him the chance to be a bigger character on stage, have more impact, and express himself more this year.

Bernice Huang said that Fringe to her was really fun and it was an activity that was enjoyable for everyone. This is because Bernice was pushed out of her comfort zone and given moments on stage that built her into a better actor today.

Chloe Wong says she is always excited to be in Fringe because of the wonderful sets and productions that we are provided with every year. She enjoys Fringe because she adores connecting with the audience and it was a new experience for her.

Annika Liu stated that she enjoyed expressing her character as well as analyzing how she needs to differentiate the character from her own personality. She is also excited for this year’s production as the set for our play is more elaborate with new props and levels, the costumes are also gorgeous this year.

Andrew An explained that he enjoys Fringe as a way to help him grow as a theatre actor in ways of projecting his voice, improving his diction and boosting his confidence on stage. He has always been a bright actor and has been looking forward to performing Fringe along with being around friends and creating new memories.

Overall, Fringe has always been a fun experience and everyone always looks forward to the amazing and interesting surprises Mr. Hatt has in store for us. He always comes up with ingenious ideas that lighten the mood and he provides an atmosphere that allows theatre to be more glorious and riveting. Hopefully you all come to watch the Fringe performances and experience greatness worthy of Broadway!

Alice Ao (Grade 10) – A Trip to the Moon

Tell us about the piece you are rehearsing…

A Trip to the Moon written by Tracy Wells is an eight-scene vignette play centered around a diverse range of individual experiences during the Moon Landing in 1969. Ranging from quirky families witnessing the moment on television, to soldiers serving in the Vietnam War, to a group of protestors showing a girl how to fight for what’s right, A Trip to the Moon truly covers it all. Not to mention, each scene is named and accompanied by an iconic song from that time, some of which include Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles and Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

What is your role in the production?

My character in this production, Mary, is a worried mother who awaits a letter from the draft board that will determine whether her son, Jimmy, will get drafted into the Vietnam War. Right before being handed the letter from the mailman, Mary’s talkative, expressive neighbour skips out and goes on what seems to be an endless rant about whatever comes to mind.

Have you been involved with the Fringe before? Why do you enjoy being involved and what are you most looking forward to this year?

I have not been involved with Fringe in past years, as this is my first year as a theatre student. Because of this, I am looking forward to just about anything and everything, as being a part of a play has always been a dream of mine. However if I had to choose just one aspect I’m looking forward to the most, it would be all the memorable experiences I will get to make backstage and during rehearsals with my peers.

Coco Ji (Grade 11) – Man in the Bowler Hat

Tell us about the piece you are rehearsing…

We’ve been preparing a play called Man in the Bowler Hat by A.A. Milne. As this piece is extremely melodramatic, over the past few weeks each of us has been focusing on developing our characters since there is a unique way each of our stock characters is supposed to act. This involves how a character should present themselves and how to audience should interpret them.

We have also had the opportunity to have a workshop with an intimacy coach to walk us through how to approach intimacy in scenes. The Man in the Bowler Hat follows six melodramatic stock characters. This features the hero, the heroine, the villain, and the bad man. It’s been really neat to try and embody these stock characters because they are all so unique and funny in their own way and it’s really interesting to see how they all come together to create this hilarious piece of theatre. Everyone is really excited to share this amazing experience and we can’t wait to present you with our final show!

What is your role in this production?

I am playing the role of “Heroine” which is one of the key stock characters. This role is the opposite of my personality so it was really cool to push myself past my comfort zone and be a person I am not. I loved the character development workshops because I was able to explore my character further. I am really excited to be acting for my first time in front of SJS and I am looking forward to continuing to work on developing the characters over the next couple of weeks.

Have you been involved with the Fringe before? Why do you enjoy being involved and what are you most looking forward to this year?

This is my first year being involved in Fringe. I watched all of the performances last year and I am really excited to see what I can bring to the stage. I look forward to bringing my character of the Heroine on stage, my goal is to really exaggerate and be in the character that I am assigned as much as possible. Everyone is working super hard and I can’t wait to see the final moment!

Lily Collins (Grade 12) – Solo Piece – 4.48 Psychosis

Tell us about your piece…

The Grade 12 solo theatre pieces are all inspired by existing theatre theorists and specified to a particular aspect of that theory. For my performance, I will be encompassing Robert Lepage’s theory of scenography, with a specific focus on the use of projections. My piece, titled 4.48 Psychosis, is based on a script, written by Sarah Kane, which depicts the mind and soul of a woman on the brink of a psychosis-induced suicide.

And what is your role?

My role in this production is everything! I am the director, producer, designer and actor, meaning that I will create an entire performance on my own from the ground up. I had been involved in Fringe over the last two years and had enjoyed working with my classmates in an ensemble to create and perform collaborative pieces.

What are you most enjoying / looking forward to?

This year I am most looking forward to performing individually. Despite being initially intimidated by this idea, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of putting my ideas together and watching myself bring them to life. I am also really looking forward to watching my classmates’ performances and seeing how they each shine light on their individual skills and interests.