By Lorne Eckersley
PCSS drama teacher Brooke Douma and about 30 students have been hard at work lately. And they have been working for peanuts, or rather Peanuts.
Peanuts? Yup, none other than the Charlie Brown gang. Want to see Snoopy lying on the top of his doghouse? Longing to see Lucy pull the football away as Charlie’s about to kick it. Pining to hear Schroeder tinkling on his (really) baby grand piano?
Well, set aside one or more of the evenings of February 27-29, get some tickets—these ones will go fast—and head out to Prince Charlies Theatre for a night that promises to entertain everyone, young and old.
Brooke Douma usually writes the scripts that she produces and directs, but she got little help from a fellow teacher for What’s It All About, Charlie Brown?
“We were just having a conversation one day and Mary Radonic asked me if I had ever thought about doing a Charlie Brown show,” Douma said on Friday. “I asked her if she was going to write and Mary said ‘sure’.
“She wrote the script last summer and it has been really fun to collaborate with her on this.”
Creating a play for students is a unique experience, Douma said, because characters can be added or subtracted and the entire project can be customized for the number of performers available.
“I hate turning kids away when they want to be in a play, so I try to include anyone who wants to be part of it.”
Radonic’s story centres around Charlie Brown wanting to go to a party with the Little Red-Haired Girl (her name is actually Heather, but you don’t need to know that) that his heart pines for.
“But it’s really about FOMO,” Douma said.
“Fear of missing out.”
And not to give anything way, she added, but at the end Charlie Brown discovers he has FOBI, the fear of being included.
“This story kind of hits all generations,” she said. “Just like the Charles Schultz comic strip, it teaches so many lessons. It’s a timeless classic.
“We all know the characters, so it will be fun to be in the audience.”
Recent PCSS drama productions have received rave reviews for their sets, as well as the students’ performances.
Douma credits Jason Smith for his creativity. Smith gets paid to do the sound and lighting for all Prince Charles Theatre events, but he’s a tireless volunteer when it comes to helping out the drama club.
“He’s brilliant,” she said. The proof is in Schroeder’s piano, Snoopy’s doghouse, Lucy’s psychiatry stand and the kite that gets stuck in the tree. They are all as light as a feather and look like they are straight out the many Charlie Brown television specials.
The cast of What’s It All About, Charlie Brown? features 12 cast members “and 15 to 20 ‘talent acts.’”
We’ve already pretty much given away the play’s ending, so readers will just have to get tickets to find out about the ‘talent acts’.
Showtime is 7 pm on February 27-29. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. They are available from cast members, at the PCSS office or at Black Bear Books on Canyon Street.