Gazing into the crystal ball

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Gord Billard is less than four months away from the John Arnalukjuak High School Drama Club’s first production of the school year. With the bar set so very high with Romeo and Juliet this past season, the iconic Kivalliq director says he hasn’t a clue what the club’s next production will be.

photo courtesy Gord Billard
Director Gord Billard has a tough act to follow this year after the success of Romeo and Juliet this past school year in Arviat. Pictured are Cheryl Nibgoarsi in her command performance as Juliet alongside Dorian Ussak as Romeo.

But once more unto the breech and no need to panic, assures Billard.

“I was online recently and came across a script, ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,’ and I’m perusing that story right now,” said Billard.

“I’ve thought about looking for something with another Northern theme, but it’s only been a couple years since we did a rather harsh play, ‘Night’, with a Northern theme, so I’m not really sure which direction to take.

“I’ll continue to scour the Internet, or, maybe, pick the brains of all the new staff here at the school.”

Billard said he was initially concerned some of the plays he was looking at were too challenging for his students, “but I thought Shakespeare may be too challenging for them, too, so I may pull that book out again.”

Billard said things won’t get dicey until late October, but one way or another, a show will be performed this holiday season.

“As far as not doing a show at all, I just wouldn’t let it happen,” he said.

“I also have to wait and see exactly what I have to work with this year, talent wise, so I have a much better feel for the level of work we can successfully take on.

“Cheryl (Nibgoarsi, the star of last season’s Romeo and Juliet) is back this year, but, as usual, others have moved on, and I don’t know exactly what level of interest there is right now.

“I could, quite conceivably, have a group of mostly inexperienced Grade 9 students to work with this year, so there are still a few things yet to be worked out, but we will be back on the stage, you can count on that.”