This June 9 and 10 Vanier Theatre will present Fractured, an original one-act play at the Vanier Studio Theatre at 8 p.m.
Senior Theatre Students at Vanier have been working on the show with acting coach and dramaturge Robinson Wilson, on and off since October.
Fractured is a show about a group of students coping with the aftermath of a school shooting. Vanier students created the play with Wilson from scratch; since October they have researched numerous specific areas connected to the topic, contributed to the writing, rehearsed the play, helped with rewrites and then rehearsed some more.
Wilson, who had been working for a year with the Vanier Senior Improv Team was very impressed by the performers’ abilities to act with honesty and sincerity. He had been contemplating the idea for some time of creating a play about the difficult topic of school shootings and seeing the strong work of these performers convinced him now was the time.
What drew him to this particularly sensitive topic?
“The concept is impossible to contemplate; why are children killing other children?”
The play, however, is not all doom and gloom. It has light moments and humour and provides hope as well.
“It is about the lessons you can learn from people who survive great hardship,” Wilson explains. “How does a community heal from a terrible event? Can you find answers from outside or do you have to look within?”
Wilson is an experienced actor who has trained in Nanaimo, California, and at the Langara College Studio 58 Film Arts Program. He is also the recipient of multiple acting awards with Theatre BC both regionally and provincially.
These are some of the reasons why Vanier Theatre teacher Lori Mazey was very enthusiastic from the beginning about him working on Fractured with her students.
“One of the things I want to ensure is that Vanier theatre students get a chance to work on more serious projects and with the more subtle styles of acting.”
She went on to explain, “Theatre for entertainment sake is a wonderful thing but theatre can do more than entertain; it can also inform, educate, and it can ask questions. And when it comes to this particular topic there are so many questions.”
Cast member Paige Fraser said working with Wilson has been extremely rewarding. “He has a vision for the show, and the story he wants to tell, and he lets us create this piece of theatre that is totally unique.”
Vanier presented Fractured two times at Vanier, to the High School Drama Festival in February but even with an award for writing and the chance to perform for their family, friends and peers, it did not feel as though the journey with this play was over. The feedback from the Festival adjudicators made the cast and crew want to go back to the play and make it even stronger.
This led to the group bringing Vancouver Acting teacher Scott Swan over to the Island to workshop the play for a day. Scott Swan is a director, actor and teacher who has worked all over Canada and Mazey, Wilson and the cast and crew thought he was the perfect person to help take this play even further.
“Scott is amazing”, said Mazey, “He was able to take the parts of the show that were not working as well as we would have liked and make them so much more effective. It has been very exciting working on all the ideas he was able to give us and I am really looking forward to seeing the changes in front of an audience.”
Don’t miss Fractured which will be presented this Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. at the Vanier Studio Theatre. Tickets are $8 and are available from cast.
— Vanier Studio Theatre