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Re-arranging the round table

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 10/06) - Stumbling into a drama rehearsal is a bit like a tumble through the looking glass - it's easiest to take things as they come.

This week, Sir John Franklin high school drama students were definitely on the other side of the glass as they prepared for their upcoming play, Knights of the Rad Table, which starts this Thursday at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

Among half-assembled sets in a stark black room, young actors in street clothes wield swords, speak of magic and of a quest: Lancelot's search for "King Artie," set to the theme of Electric Light Orchestra's "Don't Bring Me Down."

"It's a modern-day take on King Arthur, kind of for the 90s generation," says Grade 12 actor Tim Edwards. "It's a parody, and it's pretty good."

With a little imagination, teenagers become knights, damsels in distress, sorcerers and monsters, battling it out over archeological, tape lines and markers on the black floor. At one point, Lancelot (played here by Ian MacDougall) loses a battle to the an ear-centric Black Knight, while Steelers Wheel Stuck in the Middle With You plays.

"We've put a lot of work into (the play) and it should be pretty funny," MacDonald says. "I think it'll be a good show."

After the run finishes, director Landon Peters takes the actors aside and runs over what worked and what didn't, such as a few missed cues and an unconvincing "cat fight." Grade 11 student and stage manager Kelsey Miller offers some insights as well.

"For the most part, I think it's coming together really well," she says of her first production. She's hoping it will be a success. "Don't make your teenagers cry," she implored potential theatre-goers.

As students filter out, a few remain behind to hone their stage fighting skills, in a scene where Artie's knights take on a Dragon (of sorts).

One of the rotating casts' Dragons, Grade 12 student Roya Grinsted, illustrates the finer points of stage fighting: knowing the moves, making it look convincing, and some solid fighting music.

"If you're fighting to the Gummi Bears theme song, it's not going to work," she says.

However, she says this play does.

"It has dragons, has kooky characters, and there's some brilliant bits in it."

Knights of the Rad Table runs from Thursday, Nov. 16 to Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., with an afternoon matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday.