How about we put on a play? No, it’s not a line from an old Mickey Rooney movie but rather what happened at Blythe Park School in June. Yours truly was asked if I would be interested in doing the project. Sure, why not? I’ll even write something original. (Another moment when I lost touch with reality!)
The fun began when “tryouts” were set. Little did I know the response would be so great, with over 40 would-be thespians responding to the notice. This did not include the 20 students wanting to be the stage crew.
My first thought was if everyone is in the play, who will be in the audience to watch when it is presented for the students. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, the play was rewritten, revised, rewritten and revised. New characters were introduced, more speaking and non-speaking roles added, another narrator included, and roles made for a couple of security guards, a prize patrol and a newsboy.
I gained a new appreciation for the great directors like Hitchcock and DeMille, who worked with casts of thousands, while I was only working with 50 students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Coming to the rescue were the parents from the PTA, sponsors of the extravaganza, to ride herd on the cast, get the props, make scenery and the costumes and arrange for the cast party.
The play, called “The Field Trip,” revolved around children going to the Roy G. Biv Museum with their teacher Miss Bea Smart where they meet Art Van Gogh, Sam Whistler, Donna Thump (the Donna), E. Bert Rogers (the art critic). It is there they encounter statues that move, pictures that make faces and learn that an apple can be considered a work of art.
The cast and crew were introduced to “theater” terms and proved to be good learners, although there were times I was sure they were not listening to us. A long explanation was needed when I told them to “break a leg,” but they came through like real troupers.
Normally, I do not mention a lot of names in this column, but I know there are is group of youngsters who will be happy to see their names in print, so here goes:
Rachel Hazen, Daniel Somers, Matt Collins, Mitchell Malloy, Taylor Owen, Gavin Kunish, Jim Wise, Kate Kosner, Therese Hanley, Christian Verdin, Karen Fucinato, Ben Gates, Hannah Pecis, Daniel Corcoran, Tim Kmet, Annie Mitchell, Allie Burke, Kate Barlow, Dionne Brown, Keri Burke, Brian Buh, Jake Fieseler, Billy Grehan, Lily Lisle, Jacob Ringo, Cecilia Ringo, Molly Stamm, Megan Egan, Natalie Lisle, Gina Oberoi, Nick Fucinato, Danielle Andersen, Sophie Mouros, Ben Brotman, Cassidy Rayfield, Brendan McDonough, Daniela Pope, Kaitlin Gaynor, A.J. Malloy, Nickolas Malne, Rebecca Rusiecki, Ryan Hanley, Julia Mueller, Kate Collins, Erik Robertson, Rolanda Wang, Ellen Mitchell, Adeline Pecis, Lauren Robertson, Shannon Grehan, McKenna Kunish, Molly Gates and Max Duve.
Now all of you go out and buy a copy of the Landmark and put it in a scrapbook of school memories. Whew! Would I do this again? Just ask me, and I’ll say yes!
At the movies
“Wordplay.” the documentary by Riverside-born-and-raised Pat Creadon will open at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St. in Chicago on June 23.
Creadon’s documentary is on the subject of the world outside (and inside) crossword puzzles and focuses on Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times crossword.
The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, opens in New York City on June 16 and nationwide on June 23. Hurry get your tickets and popcorn. This is one you won’t want to miss.