Revelstoke Secondary School (RSS) will host its last play of the school year on June 13 and 14 next week, bidding the stage at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre farewell until the fall.
Theresa Browning’s drama class will perform Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens by Brian D. Taylor, a story of evil schemes and hilarious twists. Complete with laser beams, famous evil foes, and –as the name suggests– some kittens, the story is a dark-humoured departure from other RSS plays. Among the many features of the play is the ‘Council of Evil’ who work with their leader, Dr. Evil (played by Micah Starling). Some members of the cast explained how the production has been for them, discussed their characters’ nefarious plots, and what attracted the students to their roles.
RSS senior Brennan Patry plays Mary Shelley, who –in an unusual twist– is one of the narrators of the play. The other narrator? Mary Shelley’s very own Dr. Frankenstein, played by Alexa Powell.
“We argue quite a bit,” said Patry of her character’s relationship with her co-narrator.
From the jump, the story mixes characters, authors, and other works of fiction, creating a flurry of competing interests and perspectives.
Shelley and Dr. Frankenstein argue over Dr. Evil. Shelley believes in the best of Dr. Evil and his kittens, while Dr. Frankenstein believes in the worst of him. The two help to establish and defend Evil’s two competing instincts, quickly launching the notion of a reliable narrator out the window.
Patry said the role’s more than 80 lines were ‘way more’ than what she was used to, but said she’s had a lot of fun with the character. She’s grown to like being on stage, but she wasn’t always so keen on the spotlight.
“I used to be nervous being on stage. I actually didn’t want to be in drama in grade nine,” she said.
Having read Frankenstein in English class, Patry was attracted to the role for the duality of her character being both ‘put together but also a little bit crazy’.
Prince Vladi, played by Jack Johnson, is an Uzbekistan Dracula-type figure and a member of the ‘Council of Evil’. Johnson said his character has the ‘undertones’ of a very evil person, but Vladi’s also in love with one of the other characters.
“Vladi’s like head over heels in love with Margo, Dr. Evil’s niece, played by Karsyn Powell. And, from the minute he sees her he’s just got this love for her. And it’s funny,” said Johnson.
Vladi’s affection shines through in awkward times, like when Dr. Evil is testing a device for mass destruction.
“Evil for being evil — there’s no personality or depth…I want something that I can play around with, which is why I love like Vladi,” said Johnson.
Johnson enjoyed the latitude he was given to customize the character to fit his vision. Adding a floppy earing and searching for days for examples of an Uzbek accent, he’s worked hard to add nuance to a character that could otherwise draw less sympathy from the audience.
Senior RSS student Emily Hunt plays Archduchess Arsenica, who’s a member of the Council of Evil.
“There’s not really a whole lot to her,” Hunt said casually, adding “I feel like everything has just been what we’ve kind of added to her.”
Arsenica dresses like a royal and attends the grand reveal of Dr. Evil’s latest invention.
“I felt like I suited the character and she’s kind of fun to play. It’s fun to kind of dress up all fancy.”
Hunt said she enjoyed getting the chance to dress up for the part, but also appreciated the role’s simplicity, which allowed her to balance the demanding schedule of her senior year and extracurricular dancing. Once she graduates, Hunt is off to Vancouver where she was accepted into a dance company.
Hunt, Johnson, and Patry all expressed their appreciation for taking part in the drama class and its productions.
“There was never a point where I was like, ‘I have to go do drama’. It was always something for me that was fun. I can’t express how lovely it is to just work with people that I really like, and be able to do all these fun characters,” said Johnson.
Johnson is in grade 11, but several members of the cast, including Hunt and Patry, are departing from drama entirely as they start the next chapters of their lives after graduation.
While Browning wasn’t eager to say goodbye to the senior students who have graced the stage over the past few years, Johnson and the other students not graduating are proof that the stage will be left in good hands.
The show is next Tuesday and Wednesday (June 13 and 14). Tickets are available for purchase for $10 at the RSS office. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the curtain drawing at 7.