CANMORE – Tucked away at the edge of the forest, a group of students from the kingdom of Canmore Collegiate High School is bringing magic to life with a presentation of the classic Broadway musical Into the Woods Jr.
The play features Grade 11 and 12 students, actor Will O’Brien said, who all wished to bring Into the Woods Jr. to the school’s stage because it is a classic play that turns traditional fairy tales upside down.
“The whole point of Into the Woods originally is to subvert expectations,” O’Brien said. “Everybody is just trying to do whatever it takes to get what they dream – everybody has their desires, the only question is how far are you willing to go to get that?”
O’Brien plays the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel’s prince in the play.
The play sews together classic fairy tale stories into a dynamic one-act play that explores how simple wishes can at times go awry, stage manager Danisen Downer said.
The show clocks in at around one-hour because the second act of the play has been cut out, Downer said, allowing for better management of the play while balancing some of the darker aspects with a more jovial spirit.
“We were really excited when we heard we were doing Into the Woods,” Downer said. “It’s something really fun to do.”
Because the show is shorter than some of the plays the school has hosted in the past, O’Brien said the cast has been painstakingly working to create the perfect experience for audiences.
“We’re trying to get everything right, as precisely as we can.”
The cast has been inspired by the 2014 movie, Downer said, adding teachers have encouraged and fostered their vocal and dancing abilities to create a one-of-a-kind play.
The play has proved popular and more than 40 students have come together to create two casts.
“There was too much talent to cut out,” O’Brien said with a grin. “It’s coming along really, really well so far.”
The group has been working on the play since mid-September.
The props department has done amazing work, O’Brien said, highlighting how they were able to meet with production companies in Calgary to learn the tricks of the trade.
“We got to see what they do in the professional [shows] like Cirque du Soleil,” Downer added. “We took inspirations from a lot of their ideas and made it work on our stage.”
It has been challenging to bring the play together, she added, but the fun the group has had made time fly.
The play is family-friendly and hopes to attract people of all ages to check out one of the showtimes.
“Who doesn’t love a good show,” O’Brien said. “Especially one that is presented by youth who are super passionate about the subject and put together by teachers who are extremely competent and passionate.”
Canmore Collegiate High School will be presenting Into the Woods Jr. from Dec. 4-7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for $10.