Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka - June 07 - June 09, 2018

Eastview Secondary School

 End Notes 

Director's Note...


Eastview's new Performing Arts & Production 3-Credit Focus Program was specifically created to give students more indepth opportunities for experiential learning in all facets of theatre production and to showcase their incredible talents, not only from a performance standpoint, but also in the areas of design, creation, and the acquisition of new, industry-specific technical skills. The decision to produce Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, consequently, seemed the perfect fit to start the Program off with as the show is ripe with stage and special effects design challenges in addition to a wide variety of character performance roles. The special effects, as scripted, also call for a greater amount of willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience than in most shows, and I truly believe this to be the essential bond between good storytelling, the design and the audience. We knew, going in, that the show was highly ambitious, and that it would require great amounts of time, dedication, and skill to pull it off. We've been lucky to have had so many enthusiastic senior students who have taken on leadership roles as department Heads of Costume, Properties, Publicity, Sound, and Projection design, as well as so many talented and enthusiastic student hands on crews to share in the creative fun. We hope you will agree that we have risen to the challenge and accomplished the task.


Roald Dahl's initial book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has had several licensed adaptations over the years. The musical version of the show we are working with, Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, closely follows the original 1971 film, starring Gene Wilder, which has always held a special place my heart because of its grand sense of wonder, imagination, and delight. In the film, Wonka's factory is filled with a multitude of outrageous and playful inventions and, as such, contains several elements in its design that could easily be described as Steampunk; these aspects are what sparked my intial concept for the show and, as a collective, we've tried our very best to fully embrace the Steampunk aesthetic for the vision of the production as a whole. Seeing the final product on stage and in action, I can truly say that I could not be more proud of the learning and the achievements of the students in this Program. So many creative ideas, design challenge solutions, and hand-made physical pieces came directly from these students and it is an immense thrill to see their talent and efforts come together so beautifully and cohesively up on the stage for everyone to enjoy!


I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the many teachers who also helped to bring this vision to the stage through their herculean efforts, creative genius, generosity of time, and positive energy; they modeled professionalism, provided guidance and mentorship to the students, and also helped to facilitate so many of the wonderous special props, costumes, and set peices created for the show, for example: the beautiful scenic painting work, the magnificent Proscenium moving gear wall, and what I like to call "the show stopper", our Steampunk Bicycle Airship "Wonkavator". I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our Technical Director, Mr. Marc Gelinas, for getting this monster of a set up and ensuring the safety of all of our actors and backstage crew. I also absolutely must give a special shout out to Ms Sue Fraser, a Barrie North teacher, whom I met when I first started teaching there on a musical Sue was directing, and through which we forged a creative synergy that developed into a friendship for life. When I first shared the concept for this show and the students' costume design ideas with Sue, she should have politely declined my request for her assistance, given the number of technically challenging, yet amazing ideas. Instead, she jumped on board and devoted so much of her personal time to mentoring the students and helping them to realize their vision. She's worked (not so tirelessly) into the wee hours of many nights and countless weekends, to help create a vision on stage that you couldn't possibly deem anything other than "visually stunning".


In addition, I want to acknowledge the fact that our administration team has moved mountains to ensure the necessary infrastructure to support the program and this production, wherever possible, and have provided positive encouragement on a daily basis.


Finally, I would like to thank my irreplacable colleague, co-teacher, and dear friend, Ms Maria Revelis, for her incredible kindness, outstanding creative talent and eye for detail, her unending devotion to our students' success and the success of the show, and for her professionalism in every aspect and interaction, every single day.

- Mrs. Elizabeth Bennett

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