“How the West Was Dun”, a whole lot of fun

West Dun 2017

“A whole lot of fun” would seem best to describe the Trochu Valley School production of “How the West Was Dun.” It was certainly fun for the audience and it was quite obvious that the actors were having fun as they performed.

The playwright, Christopher Gieshen, included a lot of catchy one liners and dialogue and heavy on the puns. But when the students didn’t particularly like the ending they took it upon themselves to rewrite it. At one point I wondered if the students caught an allusion to a phrase from a 1967 movie, and then I heard that they were the ones that wrote it into the play. Likewise they connected with the audience in a now well known reference to the location of Trochu.

The director, Keitha Tetreault, is also named as the choreographer, and there was a lot of fancy footwork in this production.

Several students have been involved for the full six years that Mrs. Tetreault has been directing the Trochu School plays. Now they will be graduating at the school year’s end. Jordan Stankievech played Sherrif Wayne John. Jesse Sinclair was Deputy Dowrong. Shane Issler was Cowboy Bob Scratchit. Brooke Tindal was Hotel Proprietor Bo Best. Coleman Murray as Banker villain Rich Coldheart. Nazel Gozo was Calamity Jan (pronounced Ja-an). Brandon Gunn played the Reverend Right. He was the only graduating senior that had not been in previous productions.

Out of a cast of 25, each character, with an appropriately catchy name, contributed much to the story, and to begin to mention a few might be unfair. However, I believe it would be agreed that special recognition would go to Joel Frere who as “Schizophrenic Kid” did an excellent job of rapid “personality changes” accompanied by equally fast “wearing of the different hat”. Brooklyn Gunn, as April, singing her “I’m Just a Yodelin’ Gal from Indiana” kind of “brought the house down”, and I hear she just got better as the performances went on.

A special feature, fitted into the program (and as a bonus number before intermission) was the band, Rocksteady. This band includes Jordan, Jesse and Nazel named above as well as Tomi-Lyn Howard, Deyana Altahsh, Evan Vokins, Jayden Miller, and Dani.

The stage setting and props deserve special mention especially because they were all so very authentic and were found locally and loaned by local residents and businesses. Costume design and construction was under the supervision of Clare Stankievech and Christine Vokins.

Lighting and Sound Design was the work of Brian Vokins with Jacob Aellen and William Hoppins taking turns on the Spotlight.

Co-Director for the production was Marley Lynch and Music Consultant was Ilona Noble.