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FFHS set to stage musical

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Fort Frances High School students hope to have audiences in stitches next week during their upcoming production of Monty Python's “Spamalot.”

The musical will be staged May 2-5 at the Townshend Theatre, with the curtain rising at 7:30 p.m. each day.

The production is based on the classic comedy film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” which re-tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table's quest in the funniest manner possible.

The parody-style production is a ridiculous portrayal of King Arthur and meant to mock the original tale, as well as musicals, in general, noted FFHS teacher and stage director Susan DeGagne.

“It's certainly different from any of the other musicals we've done,” she admitted.

“It is a lot funnier.”

The cast consists of 32 students from Grades 9-12, who have been working on the production since January and are all very passionate about the show.

“They're all hard workers," DeGagne enthused. "They've been working really hard on memorizing their lines and they know their songs really well.”

She also said there are a lot of really strong singing voices in the musical.

“The singing is quite outstanding," DeGagne lauded. ”We have a lot of strong singers.

“I'm not a singer so it always amazes me how quickly they can pick up all the harmonies and that kind of stuff,” she added.

DeGagne also is impressed by how the students are taking on the roles while adding their own personalities into their characters.

She said because it's a comedy, the students have a little bit of creative freedom in the way the jokes are delivered.

DeGagne also noted there are a large number of male roles in the production, which makes for exciting musical numbers.

“It's fun to see the boys have their moment,” she remarked.

“We had a really good group of guys this year so we got to do something a little more focused on them.”

It is always fun to see the guys let loose, DeGagne added, who also is amazed by how the students and staff have been working together to assemble elaborate set designs.

“The sets that we keep coming up with are getting increasingly difficult,” DeGagne admitted, noting the art teachers at Fort High have gone above and beyond to put together whatever sets are needed for the show.

DeGagne said a lot of students gain self-confidence from the high school's yearly productions, and her favourite thing about directing a school play is watching students come out of their shell and find their voice.

“[The arts] let a lot of people realize their potential in a lot of different ways and gain confidence,” she explained.

In fact, DeGagne said she gained the confidence necessary to become a teacher by participating in theatre productions throughout her high school career.

She would like to thank all the students and staff for their help in making the performance possible.

She cited Lisa Loney (music director), Evan Caul (choreographer), Sara Empey (stage manager), Owen Johnston and Dany Michaud (set designers), and Cathy Bruyere (costume manager) for their dedication to the production.

Tickets, available in advance at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts here, cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

They also can be purchased at the door on the day of performance.

“If you want a good laugh, it's good to come out,” DeGagne enthused.

“I think you'll be really impressed by the singing.”

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