The historical setting might be a English boarding school for girls in the 1920s, but the themes of Daisy Pulls It Off could not be more contemporary when drama students at Claremont Secondary School present it on May 15-17 and May 22-25 at the Ridgeplay House on Wesley Road.
The 1983 play from English playwright Denise Deegan centres on the character of Daisy Meredith, played by Grade 11 student Paige Murray. Hailing from a poor background, Daisy is a public school student who gains admission to a private school, where she must face and overcome the snobbish prejudice and pranks of her wealthier classmates during a period when classicism and prejudice were more prevalent, said Claremont drama teacher Colin Plant.
“Daisy is a brilliant young mind but faces a challenge in being accepted by her peers,” he said. “The message of acceptance and respect of diversity really rings true in today’s educational setting.”
In the company of her friend Trixie Martin, played by Grade 11 student Elyse Karas, Daisy searches for missing treasure that could save the fortunes of the exclusive Grangewood School for Young Ladies. As Daisy overcomes false accusations and saves the lives of her enemies, she also makes a discovery about a mysterious stranger seen around the school’s ground.
The play also shares messages about friendship and perseverance. “Daisy relies on her wits and intelligence to get through her challenges, but her friends also support her and come to realize she is a great person,” said Plant. “It also talks about how important inclusion is and that education is the great equalizer in our society. Regardless of where you come from, with education you can achieve your dreams.”
With Daisy Pulls It Off, Claremont’s year-long drama program continues its tradition of staging a full-length production. “Over 10 years we have presented over 18 productions,” said Plant. “We have only repeated one play in that time (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).”
Plant said it is always a challenge to find a play that gives everyone a role and a moment to shine. “This play was chosen because it features a lot of female roles [of the 18 cast members, 15 are female], is entertaining and provides a good message to our students and audiences,” said Plant.
Shows run in two stretches, with the first scheduled for May 15 to May 17. The second is scheduled for May 22 to 25. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. during each scheduled performance. All tickets are $10 at the door of the Ridgeplay House, located at 4980 Wesley Rd.