by DEBRA MONTANDON
If you ever feel down and out, you aren’t alone. Just watch Charlie Brown.
Students in the South Plains College Theater program presented “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” on March 28-March 31 in the Helen Devitt Jones Theater on the Levelland Campus.
The opening of the play has each character describing some of Charlie Brown’s previous failures, before they sang “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
In the next skit, Charlie Brown points out his flaws that he sees in himself. Justin Fraley from Hobbs, New Mexico, did a remarkable job of portraying Charlie Brown. Even when he sings, you can hear as if Charlie Brown is doing the singing himself.
Throughout the play, you do feel bad for Charlie Brown because bad things just happen to him a lot. He even asks at one point, “When do good things start?”
In another scene, Charlie Brown notices the little red head sitting alone, but he doesn’t have the guts to go and sit with her. He refers to himself as a coward.
“Lunch time is one of the worse times for me,” said Charlie Brown.
The vocal talent in this play was impressive, and they harmonized very well. They also were supported by a small orchestra of five musicians, under the direction of Dr. Debbie Gelber
Each of the actors did a super job of portraying the characters. Dalynn Beck, from Vera, played the part of Sally. A sophomore at SPC, Beck said that that she loves stepping into the shoes of a character and seeing things from their perspective.” She would like to be on Broadway one day and plans on a career in acting.
Christina Johnson played the role of Snoopy. A freshman at SPC, Johnson said that she loves acting because “you can create a new world,” and she also hopes to make it a career.
Schroeder was played by Brendyn Rodriguez, who is in his first semester at SPC. He was influenced to come to SPC by the theater program. Rodriguez, who was in One Act plays while in high school in Brownfield, says he enjoys acting because you “get to be someone else.” He added that he loves performing for an audience and making them think he is someone else. He does not plan a career in acting, but would like to teach drama.
Joel Palma played the role of Linus. A sophomore at SPC, Palma was a part of several plays in high school in Denver City. He said he likes to “escape from reality and concentrate on the character.” He plans a career in acting.
“It was a great experience working with this cast,” Palma added. “It was awkward at first, but we became a family in the end.”
Tiffany Martinez, from Lubbock, played the role of Lucy.
Serving as the director for the play was Dr. Dan K. Nazworth, chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at SPC.
He says that he picked “Charlie Brown” because he knew he wanted to do a musical this semester and the cast size would fit. Dr. Gelber, who served as music director, also liked it.
Rehearsals started the first week of the spring semester, and students had to audition for their roles.
Dr. Nazworth first gathered the students around a piano so he could find out who could sing. Then he gave them a script to listen to them read, before he and Dr. Gelber figured out who should get each part.
“Theater is a factory, not just an art form,” said Dr. Nazworth.
The orchestra was directed by Dr. Debbie Gelber, who also played the keyboard. Sesha Wallace played the woodwinds, with Robert Meinecke on violin. Dustin Pedigo played the Bass, and Dr. Al Gardner played percussion.
I was pleasantly surprised by the small number who made up the orchestra, as they did an amazing job throughout the performance.
Assisting with the production were: Kelly Duval, who served as stage manager; Kodee Scott, who assisted with sound; Tracie Boyd, who assisted with lights; and Kennedy Walling, who assisted with the Box Office.