UNITY - This December, Unity Composite High School Drama will be performing one full-length play: Tracy Wells’ One Stoplight Town. The heartfelt comedy explores life in a small town that has just installed their first stoplight. Interwoven stories of a young couple starting a family, idealists looking to escape and move away, kids growing up, a surly grocery store owner who refuses to accept the light, and a philosopher handyman responsible for the maintenance of create an upbeat comedy that explores what changes over time in small towns, and what stays the same.
Organizing the play this year are director Kyle Wood, assistant directors Kyra Huber and Heather Poitras, and technical director Jocelyn Clark. The group are coordinating 18 cast members and 10 crew members for this year’s show. This December’s play will also see the return of Greg Bick organizing an intermission show with the UCHS Rock Band on both evenings.
The cast this semester includes: Carter Mutch, Carrie Poitras, Steyn Hoogstad, Hailey-lynn Aldred, Carter Flanagan, Lex Olesen, Sage Aldred, Jada Poitras, Jenay Bishop, Jude McGonigle, Claire Moscrip, Hailey Sacher, Brooke Bartley, Cole Ducherer, Meryn Greenwald, Holly Lauinger, Annie Pitura, and Mayla Williams.
This semester’s crew includes stage manager Ashley Loadman, assistant stage manager Jacelyn Delhommeau, technical crew Naycie Feser-Surine, Elisha Avena and Alexis Mutch, and running crew Ethan Klingler, Kieran Wildeman, Natalia Heck, Jordyn Schurman, and Macyn Weber.
“The end of November is always a crunch time, putting polish on the show and making sure everyone is confident with their lines,” says Heather Poitras. “We’re excited now, but it’s usually the energy of the audience that really pushes the actors to give it their best.”
This year’s cast and crew also feature a number of newcomers, following the graduation of a number of Grade 12 students last year. “We were worried we would be working with a much smaller group this year. But I think having the audiences back in the school last year and seeing the live shows sparked some renewed interest. We ended up looking for plays that could accommodate a cast twice the size of what we were initially expecting,” said Kyra Huber.
The December play will also serve as important preparation as the UCHS Drama group aims to rejoin the Saskatchewan Drama Association’s annual spring Drama Festival. The Festival hosts regional competitions evaluated by adjudicators that culminates in a provincial competition at the University of Regina. This will mark the first time UCHS has competed in the festival since the spring of 2019 after the 2020 festival was cancelled just prior to the performance dates.
“The SDA festival is a little different,” says Heather Poitras. “It’s a great learning opportunity for the cast and crew, but it’s a significant commitment. Right now, we’re in the process of picking a play. You have to juggle finding something that feels substantial enough to be a good show, but with a minimalistic set so we can pack it up and travel, and suits the tone and talents of our current actors.”
The group is tentatively scheduled to join the Region 8 competition in North Battleford from March 30th to April 1st.
One Stoplight Town will be performed for the school on the afternoon of Dec. 6, and will be performed again, in partnership with the UCHS Rock Band, on the evening of Dec.6-7 for the town.