OMS students to present ‘The Canterbury Tales’
BY SUSAN BRYANT
BY LOU WHEELAND
Special to The Press
Orefield Middle School seventh and eighth grade students will perform “The Canterbury Tales” Nov. 2-4 in the school auditorium.
The play follows pilgrims traveling from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral.
The group is presented with a storytelling challenge with the lucky pilgrim winning a free meal at the Tabard Inn in Southwark on the return trip.
“The Canterbury Tales,” was written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer and adapted for the stage by Lindsay Price.
Orefield Middle School’s version contains six of the original 24 stories.
Eighth grader Aubrey Beckwith who plays the Hostess comments on her role.
“I play two characters,” Beckwith said. “One is the Hostess who runs an inn.
“She comes up with a game to play, a storytelling contest to make the time pass as we travel together and is the leader of the group.
“I am also the queen, who is the one who decides a Knight’s fate in the ‘Wife of Bath’s Tale’. She is powerful.”
Matthew Hauck, also an eighth grader, commented on his character.
“My character the Reeve, is a manager of a farm,” Hauck said. “He is judgmental to the other characters, and he gets upset with the majority of the pilgrims, but he gets the most upset with the Miller because of the Miller’s annoying traits.
“I like playing my other role, John, because the smaller choices he makes with The Reeve I get to blow up with John.”
Eighth grader Maya Hurst, the Cook in the show, discussed her character.
“Although the Cook claims to be a simple character, she’s much more than that,” Hurst said. “The Cook is quite shy and tends to be very nervous when in the spotlight.
“But she is also an over-thinker, which I think many people can relate to.
“She also takes things quite literally and is definitely not cut out to be a storyteller.”
Madilyn Perich, an eighth grader, who portrays The Prioress, commented on her character.
“My character is the Prioress, a nun,” Perich said. “She values virtue yet finds joy in the humorous tales that are told.
“I enjoy playing my character because she’s very excited about the journey ahead.
“She is glad to be traveling, and happy to learn and listen.
“The Prioress is someone who cares deeply, and it shines through every word.”
Wesley Perry, also an eighth grader, discussed his role.
“The Pardoner is a traveling merchant selling religious artifacts for a price,” Perry stated. “He’s very sarcastic and likes to make a joke at the expense of others every once in a while.
Perry said he loves playing the Pardoner, because he’s very funny and it’s great to read over the script and try to figure out more about him.
“His personality is very similar to my own, so I can relate pretty well to him,” he said.
Riley Davidson, a seventh grader, spoke of her character.
“My character is the Wife of Bath,” Davidson stated. “She’s had five husbands and is entertaining and sassy, but she’s not afraid to say what she thinks.
“I enjoy getting to play a part in my tale as well as being a pilgrim.
“Also, it’s enjoyable to let loose when playing her and to use my inner sass to portray her mannerisms correctly.”
The Canterbury Tales” is directed by Parkland High School 10th grade English teacher Sydney Sniezek. OMS music teacher Erich Joella is the producer.
Sniezek discussed the play.
“The Canterbury Tales” is a two-act play that follows several travelers on their way to pay a pilgrimage to the murdered martyr, Thomas Beckett, in the Canterbury Cathedral in Britain,” she explained. “The group decides to entertain themselves on the journey with a storytelling contest in which each pilgrim competes to win the title for best tale.
“Throughout the story, these tales come to life to teach valuable life lessons, or simply to make the rest of the group laugh.”
Sniezek explained why she chose this play.
“I chose this show because it is a brilliant adaptation of a historically impactful piece of writing,” she stated. “However, the adaptation brings modern audiences to centuries-old folk tales that teach valuable lessons throughout.
“Not to mention that these tales are hysterical and provide so many opportunities for students to shine either as a pilgrim who is telling the tales or the characters within the tales.”
Sniezek thanked the community for constantly supporting the school’s art program.
“I could not have produced such an excellent show without the help of my parent volunteers,” she said. “To my set builders and costumers, I could not survive without you, and I will never stop being grateful for the time and effort you put in to support your children in the arts.
“I also want to thank Erich Joella for constantly being my rock and making each show more fun than the last, and Frank Anonia, the Parkland director of the Visual and Performing Arts, for supporting our program and helping us grow. Thank you!”
“The Canterbury Tales will be performed 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3; and at 2 p.m. Nov. 4 in the middle school’s auditorium, 2675 Route 309, Orefield.
Tickets can be purchased up to 30 minutes before each performance in the auditorium lobby.