“Hold your breath, make a wish and count to three,” said the homework driven sister, Aimee played by Kristen Gerristen as she wished to have a great imagination like her twin.
Trent University Durham students and cast members, Katie Cassin (Jamie), Kristen Gerristen (Aimee), Billie Clark (Spot the dog), Jaclyn Hruby (Grandpa), Nick Ashmore (Justin Bieber), Dale Hamilton (Harry Styles) and Joseph Cassidy-Skof (Kermit the Frog) performed their first play for their practicum course at Thorah Central Public School to an audience of Grades 1 to 3 on April 27th.
Students used their imagination to believe in the characters the university students were playing after the story was told to them. Cast members had found a theme in their play using imagination and they all agree the power imagination has is powerful.
“Imagination is important for creative thinking,” says Hamilton. “As well as looking at logical problems from other perspectives.”
The play is interactive with students and uses celebrity characters like Justin Bieber and Harry Styles to help gain interest for a younger audience. During the play students heard popular songs from the celebrities and were able to sing along with the cast.
Professor Stephen Brown says the important thing is students getting into it [the story] and as long as you get their attention in the first few minutes they will adjust.
Students were asking questions like “Are you really Justin Bieber?”, “Did you really meet my mom?”.
“I think a few of them left thinking they might’ve met Justin Bieber,” says Hruby.
Many students tried to believe the idea behind the characters but some still had their doubts and called out Ashmore (Justin Bieber) by asking him to remove his sunglasses so the students could get a better look at him.
The theme of using imagination came recently says the cast. Originally, they wanted to create a play like the popular Shakespeare but realized their audience was at the core age for imagination.
The university students started creating and planning their play in January and just three months later are ready to perform. They have three more performances lined up for them with two upcoming plays in Oshawa.
Brown says that they are reaching out to smaller schools that might not get a lot of exciting visitors. They also have plans to perform at a school where there are deaf children. Brown adds, they had to send the script over early to them so it could be translated into sign.
The cast members all agree they hope students are able to be comfortable with who they are after seeing their play and understanding it’s okay to be the homework driven sister or the sister full of imagination.
“Every student has their own purpose, skills and abilities,” says Ashmore.