Monique D’Arcy never expected to be a showstopper.
In fact, there was a time in her life when the spotlight seemed distant, shrouded in the darkness of depression and despair.
But she beams while describing what turned things around – Sarnia-Lambton Rebound and its theatre program, Act II.
“I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence,” says D’Arcy, who played the devilish Ursula in last year’s performance of The Little Mermaid Jr.
This year, the second-year Lambton College student has a leadership role as actors’ concierge in an upcoming four-show run of Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. at the Imperial Theatre.
The community-based youth program helped her to find that self-confidence and purpose, she said.
D’Arcy’s performance as Ursula stole the show, says Rebound’s Kelly Wilson, who was wowed by her audition.
“We knew instantly we had found our Ursula.”
Young people ages eight to 18 are involved in every aspect of the production, with past performers returning to take leadership roles.
Many becoming friends who otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths, and by summer’s end they’re family, Wilson says.
“From our very first year, people were really surprised by the calibre of the performances.”
Some even asked how they’d managed to snag professional actors, she added.
“Ursula was one of those characters that people thought was played by a professional.”
The production involves about 60 youth on stage and 40 more working behind the scenes. Though in control of every aspect of the production, they also work with talented and experienced theatre performers and directors.
After last year’s production sold out, the group brainstormed on a show idea to fit the program and celebrate Rebound’s 30th anniversary, says D’Arcy.
“We thought, ‘what is a show that sums up what Rebound does here? We find diamonds in the rough.’”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Rebound Act II presents Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.
WHERE: Imperial Theatre, Sarnia
WHEN: Sept. 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., plus a 2:30 p.m. Saturday matinee.
TICKETS: $12, available online at www.imperialtheatre.net, by phone 519-344-7469, or at the box office