|STAR OF TVíS HIT SHOW GALIDOR MAKES RETURN TO EMSBíS GARDENVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL|
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 6, 2002- Teenage television star Marie-Marguerite Sabongui returned to Gardenview Elementary School in Saint-Laurent on Wednesday, November 6 at which time she visited some classrooms, met a number of her former teachers and addressed several hundred very excited students at a school assembly.
This is part of a program initiated last year by the English Montreal School Boardís (EMSB) Communications and Marketing Division which brings noted alumni from the public school system back to where they did their primary or secondary studies. Global TVís Jonathan Freed (Carlyle), Tim Fleiszer of the Montreal Alouettes (Roslyn) and author Ian Halperin (LaurenHill) were among those who took part in activities in 2001-2002. Sabongui attended Gardenview from 1989 to 1995 and then LaurenHill from í95 to 2000.
Sabongui stars as Allegra Zane in the hit series Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension the live-action/animated story of two teenagers (Matthew Ewald is the male lead of Nicholas Bluetooth) who get transported to a parallel universe called the Outer Dimension. There they must search for the legendary dimension of Galidor. Each episode takes them to a new dimension, which are created with computer-generated backgrounds. The target audience is children aged four to 12.
The show airs on YTV on Saturdayís at 12 noon in Canada and ABC Family in the United States. "The show just pops right out of the TV screen at you," says Sabongui, a resident of Saint-Laurent. "Itís got action, fantasy and incredible stories. Itís larger than life."
Sabongui was greeted to the school by Principal Tina Lavranos, Vice-Principal Nick Katalifos and LaurenHill Academy Vice-Principal Harry Weiner. She provided students with some background into then show and answered a lot of questions. Students presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a large thank you card. "Work hard in school," she told her admirers. "It really pays off. When I was at Gardenview, I always admired the LaurenHill students who came over to perform dances for us. I wanted to be one of them. Eventually that did happen and now I am on television."
Sabongui says that her character Allegra is a really strong, intellectual girl who stands up for what she believes in. She cares about the people around her and she's not afraid to show it. "She doesn't really want to be in the Outer Dimension, but she knows that's where sheís needed right now," she says. "So she knuckles down and stands by her friends. She also has a black belt in karate!"
In order to cast the part of Allegra, the producers of Galidor had to audition girls all over North America. One day they called Sabonguiís acting school, The Dynamic Theatre Factory in Montreal, and she was recommended for the part by her teacher. One day she was at the EMSBís LaurenHill Academy doing her dance classes and a month later she was on set memorizing her lines.
A typical day on the set for Sabongui begins at 4:30 a.m. when she goes jogging with her father. At 6 a.m. she arrives at the studio where they do her hair and makeup, and she puts on costumes. Shooting starts at 7 a.m. and continues for about 13 hours. Then she goes home to study her lines for the next day and it starts all over again.
And how much is she like Allegra? "We are both energetic and outgoing," she responds. "Allegra is really smart, and I did really well in school. Allegra is a black belt in karate, and I used to do martial arts as a kid. She's also very dedicated to what she does, and I find I throw myself into things like that too. I actually discovered some scary similarities between Allegra and I. Allegra won a gold medal in her science fair, and when I got home I came across an old photograph of myself with a gold medal from my school's science fair. It's pretty funny how Allegra's life and mine are intertwined."
Michael J. Cohen