(The full cast dancing in a scene based on Robert Munsch’s Mortimor tale in Extension Korda Summer Sessions’ presentation of Munschables during dress rehearsal at Kordazone Theatre on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
In a matter of two weeks, eight summer camp students in Extension Korda’s Summer Session, put together and deliver a remarkable evening of four Robert Munsch tales called appropriately Munschables. It is, for all intents and purposes, a matter of back to the future. The back is one of Canada’s beloved children’s authors and the future is the explosive promise of these youthful actors ranging in age from eleven to fourteen.
Despite their youth, collectively and individually, they deliver an acting punch that would make much more seasoned actors watch in awe. One of the most impressive, if only for her depth of acting and her ability to take on very diverse roles is Morgan.
She expertly creates individual and unique personalities for characters ranging from a teacher, a princess, a mother and a sister. At the age of 12 she is somewhat of a stage veteran but it doesn’t limit her energy and obvious love for her craft. So far she has acted in six productions. After Munschables she will concentrate on the protagonist’s role in Windsor Light Music Theatre’s November production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
She will share the WLMT role with her Munschables’ castmate Posey who has the lead role in Munsch’s Mortimer. Although the last tale of the evening, it is actually the first story Munsch ever penned. In her role, Posey has the chance to make noise, lots of it. After seeing her performance, it is certain the audience will be making its own noise in praise of Posey. Not wanting to retire, for the night, she commences to initiate number of noise making distractions, upsetting her whole household and the law to boot.
Beds are also a big part of the evening’s first tale, Get Out Of Bed. In this case, Charlotte, acting as Amy, adamantly won’t get out of bed. Solution, her friends, after failing to stir her back to life, take her to school in her bed.
It is in the next tale, The Paperbag Princess, where Morgan really comes to life taking her character to extremely high heights as she schemes to trick a dragon, played by Emma, into releasing her prince in waiting, a role Oscar is nothing if not a natural fit. Why is she a paperbag princess? It is all part of Munsch’s magic.
The third tale is more than delightful. Lauren brings just the right frustration to the surface as Stephanie, in Stephanie’s Ponytail, a tale of hypocrisy. None of her school mates, acted by Oscar, Posey, Marissa and Emma like her new hair dos. However, once in the classroom, they all, including long curly haired Oscar, copy her various ponytails.
There is more happening in this venture than a play. Producer Gemma Cunial, who was assisted by Lauren, tells Eyes On Windsor that each of the students were individually mentored by Korda actors and directors. Three, Posey, Brooke and Emma, also worked behind the scenes as assistant directors under Director Jeremy Burke. And to show that the talent being exposed in Munschables goes beyond Windsor, both Brooke, who does not have a stage role, and Emma are from Leamington.
Overall music was directed and composed by Dylan Iannicello with the versatile Oscar, a guitar player as well as an actor, serving as assistant music director. Actors Marissa and Ria assisted choreographer Hope Forman while Morgan and Charlotte assisted art director Natalie Worsley.
Put it all together, and there is rarely a misstep in the whole evening. In play production, it is all about execution and these youngsters are brilliant at keeping the action moving, delivering very humourous lines with great aplomb and highly contagious enthusiasm.
Robert Munsch himself had his first book, Mortimer, published in 1971. Because of that, as Cunial explains, he covers a lot of generations who will find great satisfaction in seeing the works of one of their favourite children’s authors come to life. It is well worth a visit to Korda.
The play opens Friday, September 6 at 7pm. A matinee, at 2pm, and an evening performance are scheduled for Saturday, September 8 and a final performance will run Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Admission is $10.
For more information visit the Eyes On Windsor Munschables event page.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.