Braden Dodd can’t shed his tony English accent – he’s whole-heartedly embraced his role as king.
“If I’m feeling powerful in any way, I automatically slip into it,” says 15-year-old Dodd, who is cast as King Arthur of Britain in Garibaldi secondary’s production of Spamalot.
Based on the cult 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot follows King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table on a jaunty quest to find the renowned relic.
Original Monty Python member Eric Idle wrote the music and lyrics to the uproariously funny musical which features a bevy of beautiful show girls, not to mention cows, killer rabbits and French people.
The 2005 Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including “Best Musical,” and received 14 Tony Award nominations.
A Grade 10 student, Dodd is one of the youngest cast members to snag a lead role. He’s taken six months to perfect his British accent, a lilt he unconsciously slips into these days.
“I got used to practicing it so much that I don’t notice it anymore,” says Dodd, admitting he got a few strange looks from teachers at first.
Dodd credits Garibaldi’s Psycho Sessions, a talent night, for helping him hone his theatrical and musical skills.
He’s been performing in them since Grade 8.
“I’m so incredibly used to being on stage now, that I don’t get nervous anymore,” says Dodd. “The stage is my home.”
Featuring a cast of 38 and over 600 costume pieces, Spamalot intends to wow audiences with a contortionist and a performance on aerial silks.
As Pasty, King Arthur’s loyal servant and sidekick, Taylor Schollen is tasked with cheering up Dodd on a quest.
“I’m happy, dorky and dopey all the time,” says Schollen, with a pair of coconut shells draped around her neck.
Spamalot is the 14th drama production Schollen has acted in but the first one where she has had to switch genders.
She’s had to learn how to walk differently, talk differently and is still getting pointers from the males on cast, who like to admonish her when she strikes a feminine pose.
Schollen, 17, initially wanted to be King Arthur but is a little relieved she doesn’t have to play someone as macho.
“I can become a boy much easier. Patsy is already kind of a wimp so I can use that to my advantage,” she says, with a laugh.
Spamalot opens Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Garibaldi Secondary School, 24789 Dewdney Trunk Rd. Maple Ridge, with shows on Feb. 19, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 or $15 for seniors/students. Tickets (cash only) at Little Cricket Gift Gallery, 102-22347 Lougheed Hwy or call 604-476-1234 and at the school by calling 604-463-6287.