Middle School Theater: Arsenic & Old Lace @ Beverly Cleary Fernwood

I’m a volunteer at the Hollywood Library.  The book group I lead had two students participating their middle school play.  The librarian and I made a plan to see their dramatic work.  Arsenic & Old Lace, here we come!

First of all, I was surprised to learn that a lot of people in my social circle have not seen the classic movie. Then, I was even more surprised when I gave a short synopsis (Cary Grant has elderly Aunts and they take in borders and kill them) people reacted with horror.  “No, it’s a comedy!  A screw-ball comedy!” I protested.  But they were not swayed.  It sounded like a terrible movie to them.  And middle school students performing it?  Aren’t they too young?

This group did a great job of putting us through our comedy paces.  The set, built on the stage in the cafetorium (that marvel of disinterest to the arts: cafeteria and auditorium combined in one) was also impressive.  The actors and stage hands started at a disadvantage, due to the many no-school days which opened the semester.

After, we clapped for the cast as usual.  Then we clapped for the crew, then the student directors, then the director.  And then the student directors each read the director a letter they had written for him.  And then they gave him an elderberry bush.  Which cracked me up.

It was a good afternoon at the theater.

3 thoughts on “Middle School Theater: Arsenic & Old Lace @ Beverly Cleary Fernwood”

  1. OMG, the elderberry bush, hahaha! That made my day.

    This is one of my all-time favorite movies. It cracks me up every single time. Everyone is so damn funny in it. I tried to show it to some friends in LA and I could tell they were all bored. We didn’t watch the whole thing. I was very disappointed. :-/

    I saw it on stage when we lived on Maui. Still funny, although the male lead couldn’t compare to Cary Grant. I’m pleased to hear that the kids did it justice!

    1. That’s the worst, when people aren’t loving something you are loving. My first dinner party (junior year of high school), I showed “It Happened One Night” for post-dinner entertainment. Unfortunately, it was a mixed boy/girl crowd and the boys were restless. We made it though, but some people didn’t love it.

      I think middle school kids, being natural hams, were well-suite for this production.

  2. I have not seen the movie – WHAT?!?!?!?

    I have seen a production of the show – done by Knock ‘Em Dead Dinner Theater nonetheless.

    I LOVED it when you showed It Happened One Night. BOYS ARE DUMB (cute – but dumb) (and I think they were high…well some of them were…).

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