Rundle students have a blast on stage

A.D. Rundle drama students will perform Blast Neutron, a funny, futuristic, good vs. evil tale April 19 to 21 at the middle school.

A.D. Rundle drama students incl. Stephanie Cornish (front)

A.D. Rundle drama students incl. Stephanie Cornish (front)

The year is 2367.

Blast Neutron and his group of Galactic Rangers patrol the galaxy, keeping the Intergalactic Republic safe from evil.

That is, until the evil Drustella wins the Intergalactic elections and enslaves all living species, with the help of Dr. Fudd and his army of automoton robots. Blast and his gang have been exiled to the far away planet of Valium 6.

Who will stop the evil empress? Will Blast escape in time to save the day?

Let the students at A.D. Rundle School tell the tale.

‘Blast Neutron’ is a local story, written by G.W. Graham’s Shane Croucher with music from Mt. Slesse’s Gareth Clarke.

“I think it’s a theme that will always have a place in society,” A.D. Rundle theatre director Maria Dimas pointed out. This battle between good and evil has plenty of present-day parallels in politics and pop culture and it’s jam-packed with unique and hilarious characters.

“They’re all so wonderful in their own weird ways,” Dimas enthused.

When Hannah Thomas, playing the leader of Drustella’s Amazon warriors, first read the script, “I thought it was really, really weird. And that it would be really fun to perform,” she laughed.

They’re currently in the midst of rehearsing epic battles, musical numbers and choreography, and out-of-this world drama, gearing up for the big performances next week.

Student Stephanie Cornish has found ways to connect to her evil character, Drustella the heartless bureaucrat.

“She’s very dramatic and loud. And I’m like that in real life,” Stephanie laughed. “I’m not that mean, though.”

“I don’t like to boss people around… often,” she smiled, after a run-through of Drustella’s theme song ‘Control.’ “But I am a leader, as is she.”

Seeking world-domination, this evil empress has a dedicated team of followers to do her bidding, including love-struck scientist Dr. Fudd played by Bryce Richardson, and P.O.O.P., the human-hating robot played by Caleb Plett. Caleb’s been channeling notorious sociopaths to inspire his cold, deadpan performance.

Fighting against evil, the goodness in the galaxy is lead by Tyler Kohl playing leading man Blast Neutron himself.

Alongside Dr. Fuzzybritches (Lexie Behrendt), Dash the robot (Jenna Boucher) and Riggs (Alexus Heward), this team bravely takes on the viscous army of space pirates and wild villains.

The 28 students in the drama program at A.D. Rundle have been rehearsing during class-time and after school, week after week since roles were cast in January.

Learning how to operate as the cast and the crew, developing and perfecting choreography for six numbers, and memorizing a full script’s worth of lines is no easy task for these young middle schoolers, but they’re up to the challenge – and loving every minute of it.

“Shane creates such rich, fun characters to play,” Maria said.

“It’s over-the-top, melodramatic… it’s ridiculous,” Bryce added. “The script is great.”

Some of the students are excitedly returning after their first production last year, others have been acting since childhood, more still are stepping into the spotlight for the first time.

For every hurdle that these drama-inclined students face, they’re building valuable skills that they’ll carry with them through theatre pursuits in secondary school programs and beyond.

For Hannah, it’s singing loudly and confidently, while remaining in character.

For Caleb, it’s harnessing the anger necessary to portray a psychotic robot who’s primary goal is to terminate all life forms.

For Stephanie, it’s leaping from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other in a snap.

And Bryce’s area of focus is genuinely referring to his co-star as “Puddin’ cakes” without cracking up.

“It’s a really hysterical, cheesy space pirate musical,” Hannah remarked. “You just have to watch it.”

And with an expert combination of highbrow and lowbrow jokes, this story has humour and appeal for all audiences.

The show runs on April 19, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. in the A.D. Rundle drama room (45660 Hocking Ave). Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.