The late 19th century world of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s immortal Anne Shirley was brought to vivid life again last week by Elgin Park’s drama department in a student-produced and directed adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
Student directors Bella Smith and Cordelia Sank ably guided a spirited cast of Grade 8 to Grade 10 actors through the familiar story of the talkative, irrepressably enthusiastic red-haired orphan (played by Sam Brealey) who is mistakenly sent to the farm owned by pragmatic Marilla Cuthbert (Wiktoria Molska) and her quiet, retiring brother Matthew (Logan Anschell).
Staged and lit simply but effectively, the production also benefited from evocative period costumes by Sian Thomas-Cave.
Other players included Carly Sinclair as the older Anne, Aisha Nukovic as Mrs. Lynde, Daniella McNeil as Anne’s best friend Diana and Ethan Donnelly as Gilbert Blythe.
“I was looking for a play to direct in my senior year that had a story that was focused on family and home life and was also Canadian,” Sank said, prior to a matinee performance for students from Chantrell Creek Elementary.
The choice of Anne of Green Gables was a natural, and Sank said Smith eagerly aqreed to co-direct.
“We’ve been working on it for a year,” Smith added, “including seven months of rehearsal.”
“It’s like we all fell in love with the play,” said Sank, noting that although it’s set in the 1890s, “it’s a very universal story.”
“Everyone has a piece of Ann in them,” she said. “We wanted young people to see a story Bella and I grew up with; to keep it alive.”