AHS to perform Shrek in December 

  • Young Fiona (Addison L’Ecuyer) and Teen Fiona (Lilyanna Robichaud) flank feisty Princess Fiona (Alma White), who has been imprisoned since childhood in a tower guarded by a dragon. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • Shrek (Joe Grant) meets Donkey (Lacey Mae Mason). PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • The Fairytale Misfits who inhabit the land of Duloc. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • The Fairytale Misfits who inhabit the land of Duloc. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 11/22/2022 5:09:37 PM
Modified: 11/25/2022 12:02:33 PM

ATHOL — Whenever Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland needed to come up with money fast to cover some pressing “emergency,” one of them would shout, “Hey! I know! We’ll put on a show!” And in a dizzyingly short period of time voila! —  a professional grade musical production would magically fall together and wow an ecstatically receptive audience.

As Julie Bouchard can tell you, that’s not how it happens. Bouchard is an Athol High School faculty member who is also producing and directing the AHS Theatre Department presentation of Shrek.

“The toughest part for me,” Bouchard explained, “has been we’ve lost several people who were leads, and we’ve had to replace people last minute who will only get six or seven rehearsals.

“What’s also tough is funding. We’re having trouble with our sound system; our speaker blew. So, keeping the theatre up to date on the whole has been really rough. I think we need more resources.”

Asked about the choice of Shrek, Bouchard said, “We’re trying to establish the program here, we’re trying to build it up. I think doing something that’s unknown, where we don’t have access to sets and props and costumes, would be very rough when you’re starting from the ground up.”

Bouchard explained that she was able to borrow about 80% of the costumes and some of the background scenery from a friend, Linda Tomasi, at the Eagle Hill School in Hardwick.

“So, I said, ‘Everybody loves Shrek.’ It’s a family-friendly show. I’ve always been geared around doing family-friendly shows because then people bring their kids. Adults love it. It’s familiar, kids know it.

“And it’s not a massive cast. It’s kind of a diverse cast, which means a lot of the characters can be played by either males or females. And I was familiar with it. I did the choreography, and I was in the show (for another production), so I think becoming familiar with a show makes it a hundred times easier.”

When it comes to funding, Bouchard said, “We have had a significant donation made from Derek Zanga, that was 2018. We’ve been pulling from that money to pay for royalties. The royalties alone are $1,300 per show. Royalties are probably the biggest expense.

“Obviously, donations would be awesome, to the Athol Theatre Department, because we sure could use it. But with COVID and everything, we really haven’t had time to fundraise. So, hopefully we can get back to that to get this off the ground. I mean theatre departments are massive and there’s a lot entailed.”

In addition to the royalties, expenses for Shrek, said Bouchard, include costumes, a professional makeup artist, and material rentals.

Bouchard said lobby proceeds from this weekend’s performances will be going to the Charlie Russell Scholarship Fund, which she started three years ago. The annual scholarship goes to a senior who has been actively involved in any way in the AHS Theatre Department for two years. The student’s participation need not be as a performer. They could be involved with technical design, art design, lighting design, or other activities.

“So, I encourage people to make donations,” said Bouchard. “They can make it to the general Athol High School Theatre Department. All of lobby proceeds go to the scholarship itself.”

The curtain will rise on the production this Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. Performances are in the high school auditorium, and tickets are $10 at the door.

The cast of the AHS production of Shrek includes: Shrek — Joe Grant, Fiona — Alma White, Donkey — Lacey Mae Mason, Lord Farquad — Loren Bennington, Dragon — Ann DeBarros, Mama Ogre — Donna Lajoie, Papa Ogre — Jason Burns, Captain/Guard — Zander Laprise, Teen Fiona — Lilyana Robichaud, Young Fiona — Addison L´Ecuyer, Pinocchio — Tiffany Cruz, Little Bo Peep — Maya Hamilton, Pied Piper — Micaela Riel, Goldilocks — Melania Lemoine, Big Bad Wolf - Kelly Kaczmarczyk, Peter Pan — Brohden Whitney, Gingy — Bronwyn Whitney, 3 Little Pigs — Luciana Allaby, Jordyn Raymond, and Stella Mason, Ugly Duckling — Nia Brito, Wicked Witch — Olivia Mason, Mama Bear — Madison Choquette, Baby Bear —  Faith Mason

Production Staff: Director, Music Director, and Choreographer — Julie Bouchard, Stage Manager — Cody Germain, Set Design — Laura and Jason Robinson, Light Design — Laura Smith, Sound — Lauren Romag and Kyra Faustin, Costumes — Sharon Euvard, Kerri Ann Mason, and Linda Tomasi, Assistant — Eliana Rivera.

Stage crew: Manager — Cody Germain, also Sara Day, Brooke Mehigan, Shyla Barnes, Erisbel Pena, Abby Frey, Kiley Cote, and Elizabeth LeClaire.

Program/Ticket Designs: Madison Choquette. Set piece/Cave: Santiago Arroyo/eighth grade student. Set Pieces: Alyssa Robinson, Jacob Knowles, Josh Ayles.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com. 

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