Westmount School resumes pre-pandemic school production

Following a three-year hiatus, Westmount School was finally able to bring back their annual drama production, resuming their rendition of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

Sarah Rommens, a teacher at Westmount and the production co-director, said the students have been working on the play since September and were extremely excited to finally present the show.

“We had about 33 actors between our Grade 5 and Grade 6 population, and they do weekly rehearsals as well as some dress rehearsals during the week here at school,” she said. “In order to involve our whole school, we also do something called a Collaborative Drama Program, where we get together three times throughout working on the play and each student has a responsibility towards the production.”

Students who were not actively on stage were included in creating props, helping with costumes and makeup, making backgrounds, and other auxiliary jobs to support the play.

For those who may be unfamiliar with The Lorax, the story is about a creature who is trying to protect its environment against a man called the Once-ler, who has invented a Thneed which everyone needs, and is chopping down all of the Lorax’s trees.

“Our actors kind of become like local celebrities in the school and everyone knows who the Lorax is and they are really excited. They presented to their school population twice, and then we had two performances to people in the community, friends and family,” said Rommens. “Everyone seemed to be buzzing about their grandparents coming to watch and we invited all of the seniors in our community to come down from the lodge and we hoped that there would be a full house for our kids who have worked so hard.”

Westmount School’s The Lorax was originally intended to be shown in the spring of 2020, though it was curtains for the production two weeks before showtime.

Though the school typically assembles a different production every year, Rommens explained the team was eager to finish the project which originally began in 2019.

“That was a huge disappointment for those kids who had really, they put everything into it, and then we were two weeks short of performing,” said Rommens.

She added school staff initially ran into difficulties rallying students to participate, given the amount of time since last a show was put together.

“A lot of the kids kind of forgot what this drama production was about, so we did have to rally people a little bit harder to come and audition. The kids in the play were in grade two the last time they watched it,” said Rommens. “Now we hope with further, future years, just based on this collaborative drama and now the kids seeing how great of a production it is that we will get that interest back into it.”

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times