by Tammy Schneider
There are just a few weeks left until the curtain goes up on the Kincardine Theatre Guild production of Grease.
The backstage crew has been busy putting the final touches on sets and costumes, while the cast of nearly 25, which has been rehearsing the dances and songs since February, are running through their lines. To the uninitiated, it looks like chaos, but to those who have been involved with other Theatre Guild productions, the play is right on schedule and will be ready for opening night on May 17.
Bringing Grease to the playhouse stage was always a dream of guild member Reg Daze, as a way to build a bond between Kincardine and District Secondary School and the theatre. Daze passed away in 2003 without fulfilling his wish, so when the decision to bring the play to Kincardine was made, director Rob Millar did so to honour his friend and colleague.
Part of the credit for pulling a production of this magnitude together lies with having a strong team to manage the 25-plus crew and two dozen cast members. Millar is the director, Erica Everingham is the assistant director and Sylvia Berg is the producer. All are seasoned guild members that bring years of experience to the production. With the exception of four actors, the rest of the cast is new to the guild and to each other, so considerable time has been spent building bonds and team spirit. Some of the cast is local, while others have been travelling from Hanover, Goderich, Walkerton and Clinton to attend frequent rehearsals.
Producer Berg is like the captain of the ship, signing for the rights to the play, hand-picking a crew and co-ordinating with the director to collect costumes, solve concerns and keep a step ahead of any issues that might arise. She is very proud of the cast and the commitment they have shown.
“Seeing them build their talent and their confidence and gelling together as a group has been phenomenal,” said Berg. “It’s been very different from any other production I have produced with dancing, music and youth. Their energy is exhilarating.”
Slayde Millar, who is cast in the role of Rizzo, has been performing in Theatre Guild productions and singing since she was four or five years old. At 17, she is the perfect age to play the sassy leader of the Pink Ladies.
“It’s a huge challenge for me and one of the best characters I’ve been able to play,” she said. “Grease is iconic. It’s full of life and a really fun experience. You can relate to the characters.”
Grease opens at the Kincardine Centre for the Arts on May 17 and will offer nine performances. Tickets are available online at www.kincardinetheatreguild.ca or at JB’s Lingerie at 789 Queen Street, cash only.