Walpole High School Drama Club presents “The Canterbury Tales”


Julia Sandquist

Two students perform in a scene of the winter play.

The Walpole High School Drama Club has been known to entertain audiences with classic popular plays like Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and Grease over the years. However, this fall, Director Jim D’attilio chose a story to perform that was completely different from anything he has ever directed before. On December 5 and 6, the Drama Club presented The Canterbury Tales—a less well-known, British sketch comedy that includes not one, but multiple stories packed into one performance.

This Middle Age comedy, written by the 14th century author Geoffrey Chaucer, features a group of villagers as they travel on vacation together from London to the town of Canterbury. Each member of the group tells a vibrant story, which comes to life before the audience’s eyes.  The result is a plot comprised of more than one single story: it is a collection of funny short stories that are divided into separate acts.

Told by the author himself, Walpole High’s adaptation is different from the original play.  The pilgrims in the play do not tell their tales correctly, as they incorporate humor to make the tales interesting. The characters also often break the fourth wall, which means they talk directly to the audience.

“The Canterbury Tales was the most fun show to put together because the tales were often corny and made lots of people laugh,” said sophomore Nicole Hay.

Drama Club participants transform into their roles.

Senior Brian Tracey played Harry Bailey (the narrator), while  sophomore Jake Witherell played another main character, Geoeffrey Chaucer.

Supporting roles included the Wife of Bath, played by senior Lauren LoRusso, The Miller, played by junior Max Simons, and the Chanticleer, played by senior Samantha Huynh. With 51 different characters, many actors were also required to play more than one role.

To prepare for their performances, actors began rehearsing during the first week of October for about 8-9 weeks, while practicing 2 to 3 times per week for two hours.

For many students, Drama Club is more than just an after school activity: it is a chance to meet new people and make new friends.  Freshman Lucy Gielow said, “The whole experience was really great and energetic. There wasn’t a dull moment, and quite frankly, more than half of my friends are new from Drama Club.”

Next up on the agenda for the Drama Club is the winter musical, “Into the Woods.” Auditions were held on both December 15 and December 16 after school, and the musical will be performed March 13, 14 and 15.