Sunday, April 15, 2012


Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of watching the J.N. Burnett Theatre Department's Spring performance of the play "Museum" by Tina Howe.  The play, written in 1976, is a satirical look at the world of Modern Art and the characters who often visit art shows.  Set in an unidentified museum in New York, there was a large cast of brilliantly portrayed characters who graced the stage.

The performance was extremely well-received by the "standing-room only" audience of family and friends, who were treated to an inspired and humourous production.  Though each of the actors was outstanding, there are a few that deserve special recognition;  the ever-energetic Moses Caliboso as both Mr. Salt and Giorgio, Jei So as Mrs. Salt and Harriet, Stephanie Wong as Barbara Castle and Zoe and Jessica Wong as Barbara Zimmer and Francoise.  Also deserving of mention was Sharon Mui as Tink Solheim and an elderly parent and, of course, lead actor Justin Wang as the frustrated, in-over-his-head security guard.  Despite singling out only a few, I would be remiss if I did not give out kudos to each of the 31 actors in the show!
The show was directed by Drama teacher, Mrs. Karen McNee.  Tech Education teacher Mr. Bevan, David Tam and Samson Lee helped with set design, and Ms. Jackson, Heidi Ng and Angie Wu from the Textiles department aided with costumes.  There were likely many others who pitched in and I apologize if I missed you!  The cast of 31 actors (playing 40 different characters) and 30 behind the scenes crew (including 4 teachers and a husband) worked exceedingly hard.  No one described the efforts and rewards of the show better than director, Mrs. Karen McNee:

Welcome to the Museum and the last day of the exhibition “The Broken Silence”!

This play focuses on character rather than plot and it caught my attention during my annual play search this last fall.  I had heard much about so when I finally read it, I was really excited that I had found the right one for this year.  I love the range and variety of characters it features and wanted to provide as large an opportunity for casting as I could.  I enjoy the humour that the characters bring, but also the heart.  They represent little bits that we can recognize in ourselves, or in the people we know.  Despite their pretense, there is an honesty that drives each of them.

As you may know, recent events pressured us to either cancel the show or honour all of the work we have put into this since January and get this show up three weeks early.  The students and staff involved collectively decided to proudly present to you all that we had created and do the best we could with the time we had left. The passion these students bring each day have made this process such a pleasure and a joy.

Like I often am, I was amazed by the talents, passion and coming together of the teachers and students when in situations like these.  As mentioned by Mrs. McNee, the performance was bumped up by three weeks for a variety of reasons, among them the uncertainty of teacher job action in the dispute between the BCTF and the Ministry of Education.  Students and teachers alike desperately wanted the show to go ahead, and worked very hard under significant time constaints.  They came together and put on a magnificent show!

Congratulations to all those who contributed to the performance.  You put on an exceptional show and made yourselves and us proud.  Special thanks go out to the teachers who made the project possible.  Well done!

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