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Fort High play aims to scare audiences silly

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Halloween isn't for another week, but for those waiting impatiently for the scariest night of the year, there's an opportunity for a ghoulishly good time right around the corner.

Fort Frances High School will be showing “Scared Silly" this week at the Townshend Theatre. The fall play is a spooky and funny collection of nine short skits bound together in an anthology style like "Creepshow" or "Tales from the Crypt.”

While the students at Fort High have worked together to produce their own material in the past, this year they're working from published material with plenty of variety.

“We actually ordered a script in . . . Each of the different plays has a different author that just kind of made one whole play together and decided it would be cool,” said Grade 11 student Kylie Stafford.

“It's nine short stories . . . Just little comedy skits. They all have a different like storyline, but they all kind of tie into one.”

Stafford said her favourite story is one called “Left Hanging,” a skit that she has a major role in.

“My character is a director of a spook alley,” she explained.

“She's quite bossy and it's just about her telling all these kids and having a discussion with her group of actors who are in this spooky alley and there's some paranormal exploits.”

Grade 10 student Christopher Williams said there's plenty of variety when it comes to the skits on offer.

“In the beginning, I'm the narrator and I'm just telling the stories to entertain a couple people and throughout I pop in here and there” Williams explained.

“A couple of them are about like, there's a waiting room and like a restaurant . . . There's one about a kid who didn't show up in a Halloween costume and went up to someone's house and they were crazy. They're all really different.”

Students have been working on the play since the beginning of the school year, and the format of the show means that rehearsals can take place without needing the entire cast all the time. That's great for busy students like Grade 11 student Joanna Empey, though she said she's still feeling some nerves as the premiere approaches.

“Even though we did start early, I feel as if we haven't had enough practice,” Empey said.

“Because I'm involved in basketball I've been missing quite a few practices and with the PA day next Monday, that's kind of one less day we have to practice. We've been practicing on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Mondays at lunch.”

Grade 10 student Brayden Morriseau, who is serving as a stage director for the play, admitted he's a bit nervous also, but is confident everything will work out in time for the show.

“After this weekend, it'll be fine,” Morriseau said during a lunchtime practice on Friday.

“Everything should come together and everyone's starting to finally know their lines and everything. We only had about a month to begin with to get everything all together—a month and a week, I think it was. Not a lot of time.”

“It's just going to be amazing. I have a lot of faith in the cast and I have a lot of faith in my assistants and in Michaud,” he continued.

Show director Dany Michaud said tensions run high in the lead up to the show as nerves fray, but the students overcome them for opening night.

“There's obviously a lot of lines and stuff like that,” Michaud said.

"It's my sixth year doing it now and I know what to expect. Last year's dress rehearsal was an absolute disaster and then the next day, first performance, I'm like, 'Where was that last night?' It was perfect.

“I think that's kind of one of the things that they do too,” he continued.

“They build up that pressure and they know it's them that's up on stage. It reflects on them, too, and on their performances, and they do a really good job.”

As for the selection of the show itself, Michaud said he's partial to comedies, but the other themes fit with when the school holds their play.

“I kind of went with the whole Halloween kind of thing, like comedy-horror sort of matchup,” he said.

“I think the community sort of expects it, so why not keep going with it? And I enjoy it. Like I said, I think comedies are fun.”

The students urged everyone to come out and see the work that has gone into their show.

“I think people should come out because we've been working so hard at this and it's basically like our baby,” said Empey.

“Usually it's just like parents and families that come, but it would be really cool to have people who aren't related to the actors come. Not very many people come out, but it's a really amazing opportunity for us and I enjoy doing it so much, it's one of my favourite parts of the school year.”

“Scared Silly” will run this Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 24-26) at the Townshend Theatre, with shows beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $7—or $5 for seniors and students—and are available at Northwoods Gallery and Gifts or at the door.

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