Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 154

The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 45
Mal Howley: my wife
Adam Howley: my son, age 20
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 15


The high school musical of “Oklahoma” was going to be performed one month before the middle school play of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” We had sold almost all of the available tickets for both shows of “Oklahoma” and we had sold a lot of tickets for the middle school play, much to the surprise of many people who didn’t believe that there would be that much interest in it.

Very nice-- but conservative—people governed the school so Brenda was a bit concerned about some suggestive lyrics to the song, “Kansas City.” To keep everyone happy, Barry and Margaret Armitage cleverly changed them. This song was sung by John, Cassy’s boyfriend. There were also concerns about the kissing scenes in the play. In one scene, John would lift up Cassy and twirl her around and end up kissing her. In the big “dream sequence” the characters of “Curly,” played by Andrew Hare and “Laurey,” played by Nicole Behan were supposed to be madly in love with each other and the end of the scene called for a passionate kiss. It was decided that John would still kiss Cassy but Andrew’s kiss would be a delicate kiss on the forehead of Nichole. Dramatically, it worked perfectly and it pointed out the distinct difference between the “flirty” affection of John’s character and the true love and respect that Andrew’s character had for his girl.

When Brenda had chosen to produce this play many of the students complained, “Oh, this play is stupid! Can’t we do something else?” On the night of the last performance they were all sad that it was over and they were eager to participate in next year’s play! It was a fantastic show that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Well, almost everyone. One man complained about a scene that he thought was “making fun” of the idea of suicide. About a week later the school board got a lengthy letter from someone who had broken down, scene by scene, the things they thought were offensive in the play. While the school board took these complaints seriously, they also understood that we couldn’t please everyone.

A month later, it was time for the production of the middle school play “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Although I was the director, I was also the only person who knew the show thoroughly enough to run the spotlight because many of the scenes in this show are performed in a “black-out” technique. It was complicated but it worked. I wasn’t needed up front to help any of the students with their lines because they had all worked hard and were very sure of their parts. Stephanie Goddard, assisted by Caleb Parys on the drums, played the music perfectly.

The two performances were interestingly different because different actors played Snoopy and Lucy each night. Several people bought tickets to both performances to see the differences. Cassandra came to see both of the shows but my son, Adam, only came to one of the performances. The play was so much fun and the young actors all did a great job. Looking back, it still surprises me that we could have sold 350 tickets to a middle school play. I was hoping to do another play with the middle-school but my life drastically changed the next year and I just couldn’t do it.

Next chapter: The Prodigal Son

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