Skip to content

Pinetree actors identify with 13

The musical 13 at Coquitlam's Pinetree secondary school is a grown-up story about growing up.

The musical 13 at Coquitlam's Pinetree secondary school is a grown-up story about growing up.

It offers its young actors a chance to play a role completely opposite to themselves or, in the case of the two main characters, extraordinarily similar to their real-life personalities and the events surrounding them.

Lucas Szaraz plays Evan Goldman, who's forced to move from New York to small-town Indiana after his parents get divorced. Evan just wants to make friends and survive the school year but finds it far more taxing than expected, something Szaraz himself discovered when he once had to switch elementary schools.

"I find the character to be like me, in some ways," Szaraz said. "I was a new kid before when I came to a school. It was hard trying to fit in and pick what groups to be in... I guess I can relate to that."

Making matters even worse for Evan is that his only real friend, Patrice (played by Samantha Dowdell), suddenly gives him the cold shoulder, leaving him virtually on his own to fend off the resident bully, Brett (Evan Donovan Hayes), and deal with physically disabled Archie (Reid Hepnar).

"I love my character," Dowdell said. "She's a lot like me. She's very down to earth... just herself all the time. Other kids don't really appreciate that she doesn't follow the crowd so she's been categorized."

Dowdell said even finding the appropriate wardrobe for Patrice was a simple task for her. "She wears different clothes... crazy patterns," Dowdell added, smiling. "I think it's really easy for me because the costumes came from my own closet."

In the case of Hayes portraying a bully, he finds his role to be challenging in that Brett's totally unlike himself. "He is completely different from me," Hayes said. "He does whatever anyone thinks is cool, where I do what I think is cool and don't really care what other people think."

The Pinetree production of 13 is rated PG and is recommended for those in Grade 8 and up. It features an scorching rock score by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown and is a hilarious, high-energy musical about discovering that "cool" is where you find it - and sometimes where you least expect it.

Pinetree drama specialist Natalee Fera said she jumped at the chance to direct the trendy musical. "When it opened, it was the only show on Broadway whose whole cast was all teenagers," Fera said. "I feel like this is a junior version of Rent... it's a fresh musical and that no one else in our [school] district has done."

13 runs today (Wednesday) through Friday and again Feb. 22 to 24 at Pinetree's Treehouse Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

[email protected]