Renata Zablotney likes to think outside the box when it comes to Pemberton Secondary School's theatre productions.
"I think it speaks more to (students') interests," says the drama teacher and director. "If I keep (producing) plays and movies they've never experienced, but they have these fun scenes, then I'm going to keep their attention and they're going to give me more energy for it."
To that end, this year's season-ending play—the school's 15th in the last three years—is a production based on the '90s comedy Airheads.
"It has fun, dynamic characters and it's really campy," Zablotney adds. "I wanted to do a really attainable kind of '90s or '80s classic—some nostalgia for myself in there."
For the uninitiated, the story is about a band that hijacks a radio station in an attempt to get them to play their demo. (You might remember the movie version starring much younger versions of Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, and Brendan Fraser.)
The PSS version will feature two alternating cast, around 30 students in total. However, at least 10 characters are on stage at all times—and the action takes place in one room, which adds up to a high-energy show.
"It's been really fun doing this one," says Chris Beaton who plays the "slow-thinking" drummer, Pip. "You get to play around with the character a lot. My character is pretty goofy and has a lot of weird reactions. It's fun just messing around with how this character would act."
Rehearsals have been marked by non-stop laughter, the actors add. "In general, the play is just hilarious," says Marley Losee, who's playing Ian the Shark, a radio host. "At every rehearsal, I'm laughing my head off."
It's been much the same for Isaac Tetreault, who plays Rex, the "mean, aggressive" band member.
"We've rehearsed this play so many times and we're still finding new things that are funny about it and still making each other laugh," he says.
The production also marks Tetreault's first. As a Grade 12 student heading into his last semester, he realized he only had one more chance to give theatre a try. "I didn't really know what to expect, but I had a lot of fun with it and really enjoyed my time," he says.
While the show might be based on music, it's not a musical, Zablotney adds. However, "you'll see some amazing lip syncing," she says.
The show is running for four nights at the high school, but, like all their productions, it's open to the entire community. "I've been asked in supermarkets, by random people, 'When is your next play coming up?' and I don't know who they are. They're just community members," she says.
Airheads, in particular, seems to be drawing community interest.
"A few of the millwrights I know in Whistler that my husband works with are coming to the play," she says. "It's this '90s comedy and they want to come see it."
PSS's production of Airheads runs at the school from May 30 to June 2. (It should also be noted that it's rated PG-13.) Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, available at the PSS office or reserve one by texting Zablotney at 778-848-1055.
"We highly recommend people purchase tickets in advance," she says. "There's limited seating."