Most kids love video games. The heroes - and the villains, from mad scientists, to slimy aliens - are iconic.
Which is why St. Angela Merici Catholic School teacher Mrs. Maxwell picked Press Start from the list of children’s musicals by beatbybeat Press. It was billed as a look inside the “bright, pixilated world of video games.”
“I picked this one because I was teaching kindergarten, and they were all obsessed with Mario,” said Maxwell. That, and the fact that beatbybeat Press offers musicals at “a fraction of the cost” of more famous plays and productions.
And it was a play with a message that resonated with kids. Press Start is all about heroes, and what it takes to stand up and find the hero inside.
When the video game characters run out of lives, they hold a “musical fundraiser” hoping to collect 5,000 gold rings, to help them play on. And when things go wrong, it’s a sidekick (Little Mushroom) who uses her inner talents and strengths to be the hero and save the day.
The delightful show had a cast and crew of more than 50 students, in Grades 4 through 8.
Casting for the show began back in October, and since then the student actors and crew have worked hard, both on stage and behind the scenes.
And so have the teachers.
“Lots of dedicated staff, lots of hours went into this,” said St. Angela Merici Principal Joe Almeida.
In addition to Maxwell’s role as director, staff members helped out with casting, ticket sales, choreography, sets, props and the great costumes that brought the video game characters to St. Angela Merici’s stage, with lighting and sound equipment on loan from St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School.
Press Start was performed for classes at St. Angela, as well as students of St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Charles Catholic elementary schools.
And earlier this week, parents were invited to come and see an evening performance of the show, cheering on their favourite video game heroes, villains and sidekicks.