Sleeping Beauty combines traditional story with Ojibwe language

Lakeview continues to wow audiences with annual theatre production

M’CHIGEENG—Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng First Nation once again raised the curtain on a phenomenal dramatic production incorporating the Ojibwe language into the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty.

The school has been growing its drama department over the last five years, purchasing scripts from a company in England, building in songs and incorporating Ojibwe language as part of the school’s Anishinabemowin Revival Program.

The wicked fairy Carabosse fights with Fairy Peaceful before putting a spell on baby Princess Aurora.
The wicked fairy Carabosse fights with Fairy Peaceful before putting a spell on baby Princess Aurora.

The 20 plus cast of Sleeping Beauty performed three shows including a dress rehearsal for their school, a matinee for students from Wasse Abin Junior School, Charles C. McLean Public School, Central Manitoulin Public School and Shawanosowe School.

Lakeview Principal Neil Debassige prefaced last week’s matinee, explaining that the production was the result of two and a half months of work and encouraging students to participate in the musical pantomime.

Included in the program was a language guide with the Ojibwe translation for many of the words used in the production.

The production featured amazing actors including leads Pierre Debassige who played King Miishenh, Josephine Sagon who played Queen Maanii, Alexandria Joshua-Mathews as Gaazhag, Darci Debassige as Fairy Peaceful, Savanna McCauly as Fairy Beautiful, Kaylee Corbiere as Fairy Thoughtful, Natashia Bebonang as Carabosse, Kingsley Roy as Sheeba, Julie Ense as Princess Aurora, Shade Kaiser as Prince Zoozep, Meagan Middleton as Hedgesprite and Grade 4 teacher Travis Corbiere as Zhaabdiis.

Completing the all-star cast were chorus members Brandon McCauley, Dylan Corbiere, Alexandria Joshua-Mathews, Kaylee Corbiere, Savannah McCauley, Aspen Debassige, Ian McCauley, Zaagaasge Corbiere and Jude Debassige.

Princess Aurora falls under Carabosse’s spell and pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel.
Princess Aurora falls under Carabosse’s spell and pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel.

It was hard to tell throughout the production who was having more fun, the audience or the actors in this lighthearted musical comedy.

The great acting and singing was complemented by the costumes, from costume designer Dorothy Glasby, props by designers Meagan Middleton, the Lakeview School Art Club and the Grade 5 class, and the stage design by Adam Roy and Nicole Fox.

Princess Aurora meets her true love Prince Zoozep.
Princess Aurora meets her true love Prince Zoozep.

Other key backstage members included prompter Karen McColman, makeup artists Kristin Farquhar, Craig Cress and Candi Kaiser, sound technician Amy Mavec, graphic designer Candi Kaiser, lights by Meagan Middleton and Craig Cress, choreographer Michelle Taukei, language consultants Alan Corbiere, Norma Corbiere and Gayle Payette, directors Connie Freeman, Joanne Smith, Kristin Farquhar, Michelle Taukei, Meagan Middleton, Craig Cress and Dianne Debassige and choir directors Joanne Smith and Kristin Farquhar.