James Te of St. Andrew’s Regional High School and Gabrielle Dillera are among the cast of Rap-Tastic Tales, a play that explores homelessness through the use of fairy tale characters May 10 to 12 at Spectrum Community School theatre. Photo submitted

Saanich school play tells grim tale of local housing

A Saanich school is using familiar characters from fairy tales to highlight contemporary issues around homelessness.

Titled Rap-Tastic Tales, the play by St. Andrew’s Regional High School imagines Hansel and Gretel as victims of homelessness and renovictions, who must find their way in a society populated by shady entrepreneurs and corrupt politicians, also played by fairy tale characters like the Big Bad Wolf.

Laura Angrove, who teaches theatre, along with social studies and film and television at the school, said the play draws inspiration from real life cases of renovictions, the eviction of tenants that results from the renovation of their apartment buildings.

Angrove said the play has chosen fairy tale characters because the characters themselves have suffered from homelessness in their respective backstories, as it was the case with Hansel and Gretel.

“They are very relatable to the public,” she said. “Their story is known.”

To ground the characters in their contemporary context, the play relies on hip-hop and modern clothing. But the wardrobes of the individual characters feature little personalized touches that clearly identify their fairy-tale origins.

So how has the cast of some 30 students ranging from Grade 9 to 12 reacted to playing grimy versions of fairy tale characters?

“I think they are having fun,” she said.

The shows runs Thursday, May 10 through Saturday, May 12, with curtains rising each night at 7:30 p.m. at Spectrum Community School theatre on Burnside Road.

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