The memories remain

St. Mary High School’s cast of ‘All Shook Up’ rehearses in the school’s lecture theatre. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

St. Mary seniors take final bow as theatre season draws to a close

Graduation is always hard for Jason Van Otterloo.

Each year the St. Mary High School drama teacher watches another group of students leave the school’s Upstage Productions theatre company, of which many have been a part for their entire four-year high school careers. This summer eight of his students will be moving on.

“It’s not unlike being a parent in some ways, just watching them mature and change,” Van Otterloo said.

He said when students come to him in Grade 9 they are full of energy, but without direction. But by their senior year, those same students are showing the new crop of freshmen what that direction should be.

“They’ve changed form that wide-eyed wanderer into a mentor,” he said.

Van Otterloo is siting at the back of the St. Mary Lecture Theatre, watching his students run through scenes from Upstage’s final production of the year, the 2004 musical All Shook Up.

The musical, told through Elvis Presley songs, tells the story of a conservative Midwestern town that gets “shook up” when Chad, a leather jacket-clad bad boy, arrives on his motorcycle and stuns the townspeople with his rock ‘n’ roll attitude.

Alexie Beaulac, who recently portrayed the title character in Upstage’s Diary of Anne Frank, plays the female lead. Her character, in an effort to get closer to Chad, cross-dresses and adopts a male persona. The Grade 12 student is the fourth of her siblings to join Upstage Productions and has been with the program since Grade 9.

“I’m definitely going to cry on closing night, I know that for sure. Every year I’ve always seen the Grade 12s go … so that’s definitely going to be emotional,” she said.

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Got to go:

What? Upstage Productions production of All Shook Up

Where? E.A. Rawlinson Centre

When? Wednesday, May 10 to Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. nightly

Admission? $18 for adults, $13 for students