“I love drama, I love kids, it’s a wonderful experience and it’s one I wish that I could have had when I was their age. And that’s why I do it, and happily,” she said.
Kennedy Lundberg, a Grade 11 student attending Turtleford Community School had just returned from the Middle Years Drama Festival, held at the Riddell Centre Theatre at the University of Regina. She’d taken 19 students from Grade 4 to 8, and they performed superbly.
They performed superbly because they absolutely love what they do and she spent over 200 hours working with them.
“Kennedy did a great job directing it,” said teacher Brent Keen, of the school’s entry in the festival.
“She practised with them and polished them to the point where they’re up for it and able to give it their all. When they’re on stage they are at that really good place where they’re having fun, and the audience is having fun along with them.
“She planned it, selected the play, worked with the kids, did the improv sessions,” he continued. “She loves drama, she takes it seriously, and she worked it so that it was all fun for the kids. I attended a lot of the rehearsals and she’s always so encouraging and inviting. She absolutely knows how to bring out the best in them. I teach a lot of the kids in this production and they’re just so pumped and excited to be going to Regina.”
The play that they took to Regina (and staged to capacity crowds in Turtleford April 29 and 30) was Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, a comedy by Ian McWethy. The plot revolves around the attempts by a casting director to choose leads for a community theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, only to discover the people auditioning for the roles are the biggest collection of lunatics ever to come together in the same place, at the same time and for the same purpose.
When asked what aspect of producing a play Lundberg liked the most, she said, “I really liked seeing it come together at the end. There are times, you know, when halfway through you think it’ll never happen, but then it does and it’s just great. I love the process of having a vision and seeing it come to life.”
The age of the actors also required that she approach the directing process differently.
“At the very beginning,” she remarked, “rather than start with auditions, we started with improv, and then actually performed some improv at the high school drama production. Then we began doing it with the script, and brought in movement. As that progressed, we slowly worked off script and added bits and pieces in. I really like it when the kids get to think of what their character would be doing and get involved with the choices that we make.”
Grade 6 student Lyndon Domotor noted enthusiastically that he liked the improvisation sessions the best of the process.
“Moving and fooling around with the people going crazy was really fun,” he remarked with a grin.
“When we finally got on the stage,” Lundberg continued, “we tried to incorporate as many of the technical aspects of the production as soon as possible.”
“I like the way that you get to try and do different things when you act,” said lead Amy Lang. “I was required to get angrier as that play went on, and it was fun to see how angry I could get, I know that sounds weird, but I really like the challenge of testing my skills over a long period. It’s been great working with Kennedy as well. She’s been very interactive with everyone, involved, helpful to everyone and just right in there with us.”
The students delivered a great performance at the provincial festival in Regina. The acting was wonderful, and the tech crew excelled, as the backstage adjudicator noted the crew was professional and quiet as they performed their duties. “It was the best tech rehearsal I’ve ever been in,” said Lundberg.
Canadian playwright Bradley Hayward , who has 46 published plays performed in 20 countries, commented on his BlogSpot, “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors is a tremendously funny comedy ... I was totally blown away by the energy and polish of Turtleford Community School's production. The script allows for many actors to shine and shine they did. So brightly at times that I felt like I needed sunglasses.”
He went on to comment on the directing. “What impressed me even more was discovering that this play was directed by a student, Kennedy Lundberg. I remember seeing Ms. Lundberg on stage at provincials a couple of years ago and thinking she was super talented as an actor. It's wonderful to see that her talent has grown to include directing. It was the sort of production that made me a little bit jealous that they had not chosen one of my plays. I know they would knock my words right out of the park.”
And they would have, Bradley, they would have.