It all started in the spring of 1987, a year after our family had moved from the bustling metropolis of Regina, Saskatchewan to the farming community of Rouleau (AKA Dog River, of Corner Gas fame). I was in grade nine, my first year of high school. And my home room teacher, Mrs. Bloom, began cultivating in me a love for the arts – including everything from reading Shakespeare to auditioning for a school musical. A musical? Yes, a musical!
It was Rouleau High School’s first musical, and they were doing Ducktails and Bobbysocks, set in the 50’s. Because I was new to the school, and a freshman, I got a very small role – that of Mr. Hawkins, an alumnus of the fictional Grant High School who had graduated in 1944. Here’s a scan of an old yearbook picture – check out my sweet (fake) stash – follow the red arrow!
When I was in grade 10, our school did another musical – Tumbleweeds. This musical was based on a comic strip of the same name, Tom Ryan’s cheerfully irreverent look at the “Old West.” I got the role of the villain in this play – Throckmorton Fleesum. Obviously I am the one on the left, with another sweet moustache…
In grade 11, our school decided to do a couple of one-act plays instead of a musical. This was the first time I starred in a lead role. I played “The Man” in a play called The Man of the House. My character was a burglar who tries to rob a house and is caught in the act by the relatives of the owner of the house. But, the relatives think the burglar is the person they came to visit. That was a fun role to play…
In grade 12, my graduation year, our school did a musical again. This year, we borrowed characters from Greek Mythology for Thank Zeus its Friday. I got another lead role as Hermes, the messenger god – in a stylish silver toga. In both grade 11 and 12, I received the school’s award for “Best portrayal of a character in a lead role.”
Well, the summer after I graduated from high school, I got involved with the Regina Summer Stage’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. I didn’t have a lead role here, rather I was one of the pirates in the chorus. This was one of the best experiences of my life! Shortly after this production ended, I headed off to BC to attend Bible College, after which my acting consisted of adult roles in children’s musicals at church, including lead roles in two plays I wrote and directed, Donovan’s Story and Donovan’s Great Adventure on Treasure Mountain.
It has been many years since I have done any acting other than roles in church plays, but this past month, I auditioned for a role in our local theatre company Haystack’s upcoming production of The Beverly Hillbillies. In this dinner theatre production, I have a smaller role playing a detective, Lieutenant Frank Richards. I’m looking forward to being back on the stage again.
So thank you, Mrs. Bloom, for instilling in me a lifelong love for the arts!