On the nights between November 22 and 24, Riverside Secondary hosted the Festival of Short Shorts for the sixth year in a row. The collection of one act plays were produced and directed by Riverside alumni.
This year’s performances were presented at Riverside’s River’s Edge Theatre and was a fun opportunity for Riverside’s current and former drama students. This year The Festival of Short Shorts consisted of eight different acts. Seven produced by pairs of alumni, and one produced by Ms. Nicole Roberge, Riverside’s very own drama teacher. At the start of October, class time was spent producing“Marathon 33,” which was the play directed by Roberge, and the rest of the plays were rehearsed outside of class time.
In the summer of 2017, Roberge contacted many of her previous students and asked whether they would be interested in producing the one act plays, as well as, directing students who would like to take part in the festival. With fourteen responses ,Roberge made the decision to pair them up. “I gave my former students a bunch of plays to read, and once we narrowed down which plays were going to be shown, I then let them duke out which students they would like for each play,” said Roberge.
Rehearsals became intensive mid-November. “An important part of the class would be the connection you have between your class mates. Shows becomes easier and more fun when friendships are strong,” said Vanessa Lazare, grade 12 drama student. Lazar shared how it is a challenge to students to memorize lines, positions, and choreography, when outside stressors affect their ability to do these things. “Once you enter the drama room, you must try your best to leave your outside worries at the door so you can concentrate on the project you are working on,” said Lazare.
Roberge asked two of her former students, Jacques Grimbeek and Andrew Ucrainet, to Co-produce the whole festival. She is working towards having the festival completely student led and student run. “My job should truly be to mentor the mentors, and it’s turning out really well, even though show week is a long week” said Roberge. All preparation and hard work towards the Festival of Short Shorts contributed to preparing the drama class for METFest, which is hosted at Heritage Woods Secondary this year. METFest is a district wide drama festival and competition. Schools in the district bring plays of their choice to perform. The winning school goes to Douglas College to present their performance for the Provincial Festival.A goal of the drama class was to have their “Marathon 33” play perfected for METFest and win so they could go onto the provincial festival at Douglas Collage, but more importantly, the class is going so they can support other schools, and see what everybody else is working on.
Riverside’s student directors and performing arts leadership class did an amazing job at producing a good festival behind the scenes, and had a seamless transition between the stressful, hard work that goes into a show, and the actual show where everything comes together.