Lights, cameras, action – musical theatre students at Dawson Creek Secondary School are rolling out the red carpet for a premiere of ‘The Real Superheroes’, a musical film about a band of wacky heroes taking down the notorious ‘Evil Guy’.
DCSS musical theatre teacher Debbie Longley wrote and directed the film, a project created with her students during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says the film is reminiscent of movies and shows like ‘Mystery Men’ or ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog’ – superheroes with unusual and ridiculous powers.
“It’s based on an improv game on that I used to play when I was in high-school, ‘Stupid Heroes’. You would come into the circle and present your ridiculous superhero, like Napkin Man, who can clean things,” Longley said. “So I work-shopped those kind of ideas with my students in 2017 and we came up with a bunch of silly superheroes.”
“It’s all part of the genre that sets up the tropes in superhero movies,” she added.
Originally intended as a stage play, Longley said that with the public being unable to gather for live performances due to the pandemic, it shifted into a movie for a possible virtual release.
“At the beginning of the semester, I still didn’t know whether we could have an audience for our play, because of the pandemic. So, we set out to make a play into a film,” she said. “This way, no matter what happened, no matter whether we could have an audience or not, we could show our film.”
Students filmed the movie on the streets of Mile Zero, transforming Dawson Creek into ‘Colossal City’, the fictional setting and backdrop of the story. The joke being that the real-life city is actually just a small Northern BC town.
“It’s a little joke about our little city and how it’s not very colossal at all. We had fun, we closed off the street at the Mile Zero post, and re-branded the sign so it said ‘Colossal City Highway’ and things like that,” said Longley.
Having taught for 21 years in Dawson Creek, Longley said MacWood Productions helped put the flick together, a local film company created by her former students, Grady MacTavish and Ryan Leawood.
“It’s great to have that rapport, and we kind of have the same sense of humour, so we’ve been having a great time working together,” said Longley. “It is a tradition in our program for alumni to come back and give back to the community and the musical theatre class.”
She added that it’s been very rewarding to see her students continue in the arts post-graduation, and enjoys seeing them come back to teach the next class.
"All of these connections that I've made, all of these students will go out and learn things, they'll come back to teach. It's a really great way to enrich our program and bring experts that love what we do to teach us new things," said Longley, who's had students come back to teach dance, makeup, and more.
Anyone looking to attend the red carpet event can check it out Friday at Unchagah Hall. For more details, you can check the DCSS page on social media.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News