High school is couldn’t be a more socially awkward time for teenagers. Just five short years from adulthood, their lives go threw enormous changes between the time they timidly find their lockers on that first day of secondary school to finishing Grade 12 finals and crossing the threshold into adulthood.
Along the way, teachers help guide students to make smart decisions, to think about the future, and to trust in themselves.
So when director Cyndy Lacroix decided on Garibaldi secondary’s Interdisciplinary Arts Academy’s play for 2014/15 calendar year, the choice was meant to inspire, to bring those in high school who usually only step out of their shell and into the spotlight when there is a game is on the line.
So she took a risk. Lacroix chose Footloose, the story of repressed teenagers living in a small town, unable to express themselves through music and dance.
“It’s so hard to get boys to take a risk,” said Lacroix. “By the time they are 13, they’ve been through so much. The taunting, the teasing on social media. They don’t want to take that chance and put themselves out there.”
So Lacroix said it’s critical that her goal is to create an atmosphere completely different from what they’re used to.
“Once they came through the doors and realized this is a place of trust, they instantly drop their guard. But it takes times.”
The play’s main character, Ren is portrayed by Grade 12 student Adrian Cauldron.
After Cauldron’s character Ren’s mother dies from leukemia, he is sent to live with his aunt an uncle in a small rural community. The town is five year’s removed from a car accident that claimed the lives of five teenagers. Loud music and dancing is outlawed, but Ren’s arrival and disregard for misguided laws wakes a sleeping teenage community.
In Grade 12, Cauldron has some experience in theatre. He’s been behind the scenes since he’s come to Garibaldi. But never in front. Like Lacroix said, boys his age almost never put themselves out there.
“Footloose the perfect play for someone like Adrian. It’s a great story and the boys don’t have to sing,” she laughs. “But they do have to dance and he’s in an incredible dancer.”
For Cauldron, the opportunity to tackle a lead role comes as he’s just months away from graduating. He said he felt it was time to take a risk.
“It was my last chance. I loved the play and it is a great opportunity for me,” said Cauldron. “I’ve been behind the scenes before, so I knew how much hard works goes into producing something like this. It’s amazing to watch it all come together, now that I’m on the other side.”
While the story may be an over exaggerated metaphor for teenage angst and rebellion, the message is anything but hyperbole for Cauldron.
“As teenagers, we’re always struggling with our own boundaries, between what’s acceptable and when to draw the line,” said Cauldron.
For Lacroix, that’s exactly what she hoped to accomplish with the play. To get the boys to take a risk.
“Once they realize they have the trust of their fellow students, they really come alive. It’s so exciting to see.”
• Footloose runs from Feb. 17 to 21 with a 7:30 showtime. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and pre-show tickets are available at Little Crickets, located at 22347 Lougheed Highway, as well as at the GSS office.