Peacock students born to hand-jive

Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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Cha-Cha DiGregorio (played by Taylor Schlamp) and Danny Zuko (played by Devin Arams) do the hand-jive in Peacock's production of Grease during a dress rehearsal Wednesday.

Rebeca Davies and Devin Arams conquered any actor’s greatest challenge: playing characters not like themselves.

“I’ve never worn leather or slicked my hair at all,” Arams said of playing Danny Zuko in Peacock Collegiate’s production of Grease.

“Getting into the whole ‘greaser’ mindset was a little different.”

Arams and Davies spoke to the Times-Herald after a dress rehearsal in the auditorium on Wednesday.

Arams, a Grade 12 student, described his own style as a more laid back then his leather jacket wearing character. But that just made it more fun to immerse himself in.

“It’s lots of fun: not really caring about stuff, causing trouble,” Arams said. “Of course, never actually causing trouble.”

On stage and in-character, Arams got the opportunity to pretend to be bad.

Danny was famously portrayed by John Travolta in the 1978 Grease film. But Arams said he looked for inspiration from the stage, and not just the screen.

Davies, a Grade 11 student, said she had a similar predicament about her portrayal of Sandy Dumbrowski, also famously played by Olivia Newton John in the ’78 movie.

“There’s a lot of Sandys out there,” Davies said. “I looked a lot at iconic Sandys like Olivia Newton John, tons of the Broadway ones and I used that but I added some of my own in to it.”

In Grease, Sandy and Danny try to change for each other. Danny, the greaser, joins the track team to try to impress Sandy. Sandy eventually changes her image from a sweater-wearing preppy, to include leather pants and heels.

“I wanted for her to have a little more oomph,” Davies said, “not be so mild and meek, so I tried to do that a bit and make her my own.”

Davies and Arams both said the most challenging part about putting on Grease is living up to the audience’s expectations.

“We definitely had to be a lot more on it with all of our stuff than we usually are,” Arams said. “Usually if we mess up a line, or mess up a few words in a song because we’re the only ones who know, but this year, everyone comes in already kind of knowing the show.”

Constant rehearsing since October has brought the cast close together.

“It’s a great cast of people,” Davies said. “It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline, but it’s really great.”

“The cast is really close,” Arams said. “It’s great because you talk to people that you never would have considered talking to.”

There was an audience for Wednesday’s dress rehearsal, made up mostly of elementary school kids. Though it’s not the same as opening night, Arams said it was an opportunity to get the butterflies out.

Peacock’s production of Grease runs until Saturday. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306-691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theAustinX.

Organizations: Times-Herald

Geographic location: Broadway

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