A Disney Classic Graces Local Stage

by Zoe Shaw

Are you a fan of musical theatre? What about Disney musicals? What about both? The West Island Student Theatre Association (WISTA) has something for you!

For the past six years, this nonprofit group of talented students has been putting on popular musical productions for the West Island population to watch and adore. This year, WISTA has chosen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to present to eager theatregoers and fans of the animated classic, young and old.

The director of this production, Elizabeth Prévost, has put her own spin on the musical: “When I took on this project, I knew right from the start that I did not want the play to have a cartoony or Disney-esque feel. I wanted to tell this beautiful love story in the most real way possible. No matter what their role was, I told each actor that they had to create their character’s back story in order to be able to bring him or her to life. [..] The audience will also see that the costumes truly represent the period the play is set in. Unlike the Broadway musical, we chose to go with more muted colours and the kind of clothing people would actually wear back then (Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts are not included in this!).”

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Zachary Sykes, who plays the Beast, gave us a closer look at WISTA behind the scenes: “I got into WISTA last year for How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying). I think it was seeing their production of Legally Blonde that convinced me to audition. It was a very well put together show and it was clear that the cast had a lot of passion and spirit. So I joined up and I have not regretted the decision at all. I guess the biggest benefit to me is that I get to engage with incredibly talented, fun people on a weekly basis. We’re all students, and all pursuing our own different goals, but we all share this love for theatre, and WISTA allows us to do theatre even if we aren’t interested in becoming professional actors. Acting has always been a passion for me, but I’ve decided to follow other career paths in my life, so WISTA is the perfect opportunity for me to take part in my favourite hobby. And it’s been an absolute blast.”

A member of WISTA since its inception in 2006, Daniel Wilkenfeld is gracing the stage as Cogsworth, the talking clock, Daniel’s favourite role in his multiple years performing with WISTA. His favourite memory from working on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was staging the finale. “All of our characters had just become ‘Human Again’, (spoiler alert, as if people don’t know how Beauty and the Beast ends), and the mood of the scene is to basically be ecstatic about the fact that the spell is broken at last. So that mood pervaded the air, really. What happened was that someone would mess up their line and it would be extra-hilarious because of how excited we all felt, so we’d all laugh and giggle and make comments and get out of character and have to start over repeatedly. In a normal situation the directors probably would have

gotten a little bit annoyed, but this time they just let it happen and seemed just as excited as we were, because we needed to keep that energy up so we could translate that excitement into the scene. So that was some of the most fun I’ve had being part of the show.”

Interested? WISTA needs your support! Buy your tickets at www. WISTA.ca/tickets or call 514-998- 7229. The production will run from February 19th to February 22nd at the Steve Murphy Theatre in Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.

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