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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Drama departments pivot

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

DRAMA students at Ararat’s two high schools will pivot their performance delivery this year.

Marian College’s drama department was planning to perform a little known musical called ‘Lucky Stiff,’ a musical farce by Lynne Ahern and music by Stephen Flaherty.

It’s an offbeat, hilarious murder mystery complete with mistaken identities, six million bucks in diamonds and a corpse in a wheelchair.

PHOTO: Ararat College's 2019 production of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Musical'

Head of Drama Teresa Tonks said the audition stage had been completed and she was ready for callbacks when Victoria first went into stage 3 lockdown.

“The students are really disappointed that they will miss out on doing this production as it promised to be a whole lot of laughs and for some, it will be their last at Marian,” she said.

“I have considered a few options. One is postponing the show until 2021, in February, before university starts so I can cast the current year 12s.

“We have also considered having some sort of concert or virtual showcase for the school in November, exploring and revisiting the wonderful shows we have done over the past 20 years.”

She said the idea would be to engage as many past and present students to pull together a live concert with pre-recorded performances if the situation requires.

Ms Tonks has applied to the ‘Lucky Stiff’ rights holders, Hal Leonard, to extend and defer their licensing and although they granted Marian College an extension, they refused to offer a refund if the school was to cancel.

Ararat College doesn’t have the same issues with licensing because their planned production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was written by English teacher and director Janine Poole.

Ms Poole made the final call to cancel last week after rescheduling the production from August to December following the first lockdown.

“Students were stressed about other things, pulling out and not being able to fulfil their roles and it got really difficult,” she said.

“It was a hard decision for me to make because I know that, particularly the younger students, were really enthusiastic about it because they haven't been at this school before.”

Students will still have an opportunity to perform in a 5-minute teaser video that will promote what’s to come in 2020. Ms Poole hopes to continue rehearsals online over the next six weeks.

As both schools recommence remote learning, Ms Tonks and Ms Poole are determined to give students a chance to express themselves in 2020.

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