Grade 12 students Elijah Kroeker and Laura Stead are kind of like the characters they play in Beauty and the Beast – theatrically at least.
The Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary School students are polar opposites when it comes to acting. Kroeker has never acted, never appeared on stage in a school show. He’s cast as the Beast, a prince who has been cursed.
Stead has trod the boards in many school shows, even portraying a tree early in her foray into acting. She is one of two actors who play Belle, the female lead, who sees past the Beast’s gruff exterior.
The pair is part of a big group – 75 students plus teachers, staff and parents – needed to pull off the ambitious production.
The show features two casts. See related story on Taraneh Talebi who will portray Belle in half the performances.
Evening shows are at 7 p.m. on April 27 and 28 and on May 4 and 5 with a 1 p.m. matinee on the Saturdays (April 28 and May 5). Get tickets at www.beautylangley.com to see the show Stead and Kroeker hope drive home the lesson about not judging people solely by appearance.
“It’s trying to see past the way a person looks” or how they act, Kroeker said.
The animated Beauty and the Beast is Stead’s favourite Disney movie from her childhood.
“It’s really interesting how she gives him that chance, how she sees past all the hardness,” Stead said.
Kroeker wears more than one mask as part of the transformations between man and beast.
“It’s hot,” he explained.
Key, he noted, is the mask being supple enough to show the Beast’s emotions, eyes and facial movements. He’s also got to be able to sing while wearing Beast mask pieces.
The students in this show range from Grade 6 to 12 and their version of Beauty and the Beast feature full stage with several set and custom changes, and both solo and ensemble singing.
Kroeker brings performing experience to his role at the Beast through music.
“I was a shy person when I was younger,” he explained.
He worked to become more outgoing, finding an outlet through music, playing bass and joining the choir.
Stead was in the school productions such as Aladdin, and Shrek.
After school Kroeker is headed to BCIT for animation while Stead plans to go into nursing, but both want to keep arts a part of their lives.