Student Culture

To love! To life… 

A student’s perspective on the WPGA school production: “The Pink Panther Strikes Again”

by Julia Bohnen ’24

I stepped into the foyer. The atmosphere rang with bustling excitement and opening night pre-show nerves. I stood at the entrance of the theatre, pamphlets in hand, ready to talk to the next smiling parent and utter another “I hope you enjoy the show” not knowing myself what I would experience. I fell back into my memory of past years; typewriting tap dancers in Thoroughly Modern Millie, elegance and arrogance in Auntie Mame and what I will soon see to be the heartwarming, but questionable spelling in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I flash out of this reverie and back to reality when someone taps my shoulder. I turn around and see Jessica, in full costume talking to me in her character. Lily comes up to collect her and struggles to reign in all her other theatrical children scattered around the lobby, chatting with anyone and everyone. And I think to myself… one day I will be one of them. Little did I know I would have the opportunity to work on a show with both of them just two years later.

This year, one day became today and as I sit here writing to you, my script for The Pink Panther Strikes Again lies open in front of me. I’m in Grade 10, eagerly awaiting the dates of my first WPGA show. After theatre productions were put on pause last year due to the global pandemic, the theatre company class is ready and waiting for the school community to experience a production once again – this year a play, and a ridiculously charming one at that. 

In-class rehearsals and Sundays in the drama room have become a sanctuary of creativity and fidelity; fidelity to our show and to each other. With our usual producer, Ms. Calvert, at home with her new baby, and Sophie, our new producer, attending rehearsals when the virus and her schedule allow, Mrs. McA continuously straightens all our loose edges with compassion and grace. With COVID and the limited amount of extra bodies we can have, we’ve all had to become wardrobe assistants and scene stand-ins, amateur prop creators and added scene composers. 

Although it’s only been a few months, I feel immensely connected with this class and these people. Ever-supportive and open, this group makes theatre, acting and this experience so special. With Grade 10, 11 and 12s in a big room to one collective company, our space can now hardly contain all our enthusiasm and camaraderie.

Picture this: (one last time, I promise)

You walk into the drama room on a Sunday morning for your first play rehearsal, reciting lines to yourself as you step into your home for the next seven hours. You are somewhat concerned about the length of your stay, but that thought is greeted by shouts of your name from across the room and a sea of people coming to greet you. You are flooded with talk of possible costumes and new choreography and all of a sudden, the world goes blurry around you and you come to a realization: You are about to embark on a fantastic journey but don’t know just how much you will grow and laugh and learn and maybe even cry with the people inside this room. 

Several weeks pass with countless costumes hastily tried on in the drama room hallway, while lines are run before a scene and choreography is learnt. Math tests are studied for and French presentations are recited while props and playlists are prepared.

Now less than one month away from opening night, it seems as though time has passed more quickly then you would have imagined or wished for. Time with these people in this place is precious and you worry that you’ve realised that too late. 

You remind yourself to cherish every moment and not to take these times for granted. You think of all you’ve already gained and what’s to come. You wish that others could feel all this too. 

I hope you’ll come and join us on the nights of March 3rd, 4th and 5th. And maybe even consider joining the production next year.

To love! To life!…

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