Two of our Middle School students are currently performing in Kaleidoscope Theatre’s production of Silverwing, a play based on the multiple award-winning novel by Kenneth Oppel ’85, which tells the story of a young bat who is separated from his colony and journeys to find them. Kenneth Oppel has won the Governor General’s Award for children’s literature and wrote his first novel while attending St. Michaels University School.
“I read his books and learned he went here,” says Grade 7 performer Alexander Simson. “It’s pretty cool.”
Throughout the play version, Alexander and his schoolmate Athena Kerins both play silverwing bats, rats and “banded bats,” a cultish group which believes the tracking bands they have are signs that they are destined to become human.
“When we’re rats, we’re like gangsters and live in the sewer,” says Alexander. “We do a little hip-hop dance routine,” adds Athena. For the banded bats, the dancing is a little different. “We do some hippie dancing and act like we can turn into humans,” explains Alexander. Though there is much dancing, the closest they get to singing is “chanting with a tune,” says Athena.
Both young actors are relatively new to the stage. “When I came here in Grade 4, someone else from SMUS was in a Kaleidoscope play,” says Alexander, who is originally from New Zealand. “So, this year I auditioned.” Athena tried out for the production after taking acting classes this summer, making Silverwing her first big play.
“I like playing the rats and the banded bats, because I love to dance,” says Alexander. “It’s not choreographed, so you can do what you want.” Athena says the rat is her favourite role, but the whole play is really entertaining. She expects it will be a huge hit with its younger audience. “In a few scenes, you have to hold your breath not to laugh,” she says.
Alexander is thrilled to be part of the cast, of which he and Athena are some of the youngest members. “I love acting,” he says. “I especially love being on stage.”
Though the play opened last Friday, this Friday’s performance will be a special one as the entire Junior School will be coming to see the show.