Education Week: Student-led drama investigates fairytale plot

MacNeill secondary students to stage The Girl with the Golden Locks

Dozens of MacNeill secondary students are set to perform The Girl with the Golden Locks, an action-packed thriller-drama that’s one part Charlie’s Angels, one part fairytale.

The play gives new meaning to a “student-led production.”

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Normally, school plays are overseen by a drama teacher or sponsor teacher, who volunteers their time after school.

With a rush to hire hundreds of new teachers this year in Richmond, neither could be found. But that didn’t stop Grade 12 student Iris Guo from unfurling the stage curtains.

“I had to talk to the principal to let us take this on. We had to prove to her we’re capable, so I had to do a lot of planning to show her. So, it took a lot of effort and organizing,” said Iris.

Principal Marcia Timmins has, however, been able to pop in on Iris’ progress throughout the year and, to say the least, she’s impressed.

“Iris won’t say how much work she’s really done. It’s been quite impressive. It’s all her,” said Timmins.

For the past few months, Iris has been the glue that’s bonded the drama team to produce the anticipated play that runs Feb. 27 to March 2, as part of Education Week. The public is welcome to attend any evening show at 6:45 p.m. for a modest entrance fee that doubles as a fundraiser.

Iris is actually studying to attend University of B.C.’s biotechnology program. Acting is her second passion, although for this play she will be the director.

One of the leading roles is played by Angel Wu, who plays Agent Gold.

Wu is one of three female agents tasked to combat the three bears from Goldilocks, who are attempting to stage a coup against the Kingdom. The agents are directed by the Fairytale Bureau of Investigation (FBI), led by Chief Granny, played by Grade 12 student Kathy Wong.

“We take on this mission to stop the bears,” explained Angel, who is on track to attend a post-secondary acting academy, possibly the New York Acting Academy.

This is her second school drama and if practice runs are any indication, she’ll take a commanding presence on stage.

The soft-spoken Angel said it wasn’t easy to adapt to Agent Gold (Goldilocks).

“While we share the trait of both being laid back and chill persons, she’s more impatient at times and wants to get things done at that point, which is not who I am. I like to plan ahead,” said Angel.

Agent Gold “doesn’t take much seriously. But you’ll see in this play the shift in her emotions as she realizes she’s been causing trouble for her kingdom, and essentially her partners,” said Angel.

One of Agent Gold’s two sidekicks, Agent White (Snow White) is played by Caragh Hauta, a Grade 9 student.

Caragh is one of the youngest actresses in the play. It is then somewhat fitting that she plays the sidekick.

“She’s the new kid to the group and she doesn’t really know what’s going on. She’s a little sister and she depends on Agent Red to fill her in,” said Caragh.

As for her first theatre production experience?

“It’s a bit nerve-racking,” she admitted.

Agent White will be told what to do by Kathy’s character, Chief Granny.

“I kind of have a trend of playing serious characters. So this role is pretty easy,” said Kathy, who explains one of the reasons why many join school dramas:

“I joined drama in Grade 8. The teacher said it was a good way to build confidence and community in the school. In Grade 8, I was really shy.”

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