If you’re free this Thursday night, you may want to spend it in the company of a certain toad and his cadré of friends.
Maples Collegiate will stage a one-night-only production of Toad of Toad Hall, a dramatization by playwright A.A. Milne of a section of Kenneth Grahame’s novel, Wind in the Willows. The show will take place Thurs., Dec. 13.
The play tells the story of the adventurous and titular Toad, who travels alongside his friends Badger, Rat, and Mole.
Filling the role of Mole is Grade 10 student Patrick Eulalia. Eulalia, 15, said it’s been a fun role to take on, full of youthful energy and naiveté.
"I’m one of Toad’s best friends. He’s more the little brother kind of character. He’s very ditsy, very clumsy," he said.
"Most of my characters have been the ones who are very slow in conversation, very kid-like, full of imagination. It’s fun to get to try things out with them."
Eulalia, like others in the cast, has been acting for a while (he was part of last year’s production of Clue as well). The young actor said he expects people will be drawn to Toad of Toad Hall for its universal appeal.
"It’s for everyone to watch, for people who are older, people who are younger," he said.
The role of Badger will be filled by Grade 11 student Brayden Dykun. Dykun, 16, has been acting in various productions for five years, and he said he’s found his niche in playing older, more curmudgeonly characters. Badger, he said, is right up his alley.
"He’s an elderly, kind of crotchety old man kind of character. I’ve done old roles a lot of times, so I’m pretty good with them," Dykun joked, adding he played Col. Mustard in last year’s production of Clue.
"I’m good at them, and it’s just fun. I like being a different character... I don’t really get to act like an old man (normally)," he said.
Dykun said preparations for the show are going well, and the cast has proven itself very good at "mastering the script."
Drama teacher Jenny Gillespie said the school decided to put on a production of Toad of Toad Hall because it’s a story many people are unfamiliar with.
"We wanted to do something a little bit different this year. In the past they’ve done some pretty well-known pictures, and some that were a little more modernized. We wanted to do something more classical," she said.
"It’s got an Alice In Wonderland sort of feel to it, so we wanted to play up that classical feel."
The fantastic nature of the story is allowing the production’s crew to be creative with the costuming, using make-up to transform the actors into something akin to animal-human hybrids. Students have also been hard at work painting the sets used in the production.
Tickets are $7 and will be available for purchase at the door.