Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Snoopy and all your favourite Peanuts characters will be brought to life on the Ladysmith Secondary School stage as the performing arts students present their spring production, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, next week.
The musical production, which was originally slated for early May, is being moved forward to April 16-18 due to the possibility of further job action by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).
Cast members say the experience has been hectic, but rewarding.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said lead Eric Saunders. “We have a lot of people putting a lot of energy into this. There are plenty people who aren’t in it for the acting; they’re in it for the community that is built within the drama program.”
Kira Mauriks, who is double cast in the role of Lucy, added, “We know that we’re not going to have it as ready as we would in May, so we want to make it the best possible. We want to have fun, and we want to have the audience to be able to have fun.”
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown features a 20-member cast and approximately seven crew members.
According to director and drama instructor Bill Taylor, the small cast of the musical’s script posed a bit of a quandary for LSS’s flourishing performing arts program.
“We had quite a few quality auditions, so instead of cutting people, we increased our cast size by double casting,” he said. “The students in it are totally dedicated and because it’s a smaller cast, we’ve had to work harder to bring this play to life together.”
The 1999 revised version of the Peanuts production was selected for the performance, and planning for its staging began in December, with rehearsals following in February.
“It’s like reading a ‘Best of’ Peanuts comic book,” Taylor said. “This is a wonderful show for people who remember Peanuts from their childhood.”
The LSS production will present many of the classic Peanuts moments in vignette style.
“We get to have fun with it,” Mauriks said. “It brings us back to our childhood because the characters are all kids.”
Saunders, who is double cast as Schroeder, the piano-playing object of Lucy’s affection, is ironically the only male lead in the cast who doesn’t study piano, but like many of his fellow castmates, he has had fun researching his role by reading through old comics.
“We’re trying to do justice to the characters that Charles Schultz created,” he said.
BCTF members are scheduled to vote April 17 and 18 on whether or not to progress to a full-scale strike or withdraw voluntary extracurricular activities such as drama and coaching.
For students like Mauriks, who are heavily involved in the drama program, the vote could cut their after-school play time.
“It really sucks,” she said. “It would take away everything that I do in my life when I’m not in school.”
Saunders called it a “necessary evil.”
“Yes, it does have negative effects on the students, but we believe that what our teachers are doing is good for them and good for the education program,” he said.
You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown will run for three performances April 16-18.
Tickets for the performance are $10 for adults and $5 for children and students, and they will be available at the Ladysmith Secondary School Theatre door before the performance. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. each night, and the performances will start at 7 p.m