Dover Bay Secondary School drama teacher Ward Norcutt is wrapping up the school year and his teaching career with a production of his favourite play, Neil Simon’s Odd Couple.
Norcutt is retiring after 25 years as a teacher, the last seven of which were spent at Dover Bay. This is his third time staging The Odd Couple, a 1965 comedy about a slob and a neat freak living together.
“It’s so wonderfully written and it’s so much fun to see,” Norcutt said.
“It’s funny to read as a play, so you know it’s funny when you put it on.”
The play will run at the school from June 6 to 11. Due to class demographics, the students will be performing The Female Odd Couple, Simon’s 1985 re-write with the sexes reversed. Instead of the main characters being Felix and Oscar, they are Florence and Olive.
Grade 12 students Lucy Elliott and Brooke Hogeweide are splitting duties as Florence. They said the play feels like a live sitcom with a “Friends vibe.” As high school seniors, this is their last Dover show as well.
“We’ve both been in this theatre program since Grade 8 and we’ve had Mr. Norcutt for a bunch of our shows as director and this is his last show so that definitely made it really important,” Elliott said.
“It’s kind of fitting as well because we’re graduating…” Hogeweide added.
“A bunch of us are so we’re all kind of moving on together from the program, which is nice.”
Norcutt said the play sees his young actors “stretching their courage limit in order to create these unabashed characters,” which can be a challenge but has helped them to develop their confidence levels.
Earlier this week the students rehearsed on stage with a set for the first time, and on Friday they’ll start practising with props and stage lighting.
“It’s always that last week that we get everything together, all the finishing details and we kind of see the show start to come together,” Hogeweide said.
“And that’s when it gets really exciting because we can see what we’ve created and appreciate the work that we’ve done.”
Although this is Norcutt’s last time directing a play at Dover Bay, it won’t be his last theatrical endeavour. He plans to move on to writing and producing plays and he foresees continuing to work with high schools.
WHAT’S ON … Dover Bay Secondary School production of The Odd Couple runs from June 11 to 16. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets available at the door, $5 for students and seniors, $10 for adults.