Anne of Green Gables

cast photoLast night, we were in Canada… specifically, in Avonlea, home of Anne Shirley. Ken, Kathryn, and I were all in the play “Anne of Green Gables” as part of a drama troupe comprised almost entirely of homeschoolers. We performed in a nearby “black box” theater. I had no idea what a black box theater was until we began rehearsals for this play; it’s a smaller, more intimate theater with stadium-type seating, so that the seats are higher than the stage. Actually, there is no stage; the performance happens on floor level. The walls, floor, and curtains are all black, so when the lights go out it is a very dark black box!

Kathryn as Minnie MaeWe’ve worked with this group before. The first play we did with Ms. Tisha (the director) was a Christmas play at our previous church in 2006. As part of a group of toys that come to life in the story, Kathryn played a bride doll, and Ken and I were a retro “Date Night Barbie & Ken”, complete with our own Barbie box. When we came to life, we did a little swing-dance to the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” but we only had a few lines just prior to our dance. It was fun, and that was Kathryn’s first speaking part in a play. The following summer, Kathryn had a small part in a Mystery Dinner Theater comedy play. Most of the kids in these dramas are teens, but Ms. Tisha always includes some of the little ones as well.

This time, Kathryn played Minnie Mae, and besides having a few lines in a scene, she also recited a poem (beautifully, I might add!!!), and did a little dance with four other little girls. They were adorable, and actually remembered their dance steps even though we didn’t have a chance to practice that part nearly enough… I was in charge of helping them learn that. {smile}

Ken played Mr. Phillips;Ken as Mr. Phillips with old-fashioned wire-rimmed glasses, a bow-tie, and his hair parted in the middle, he looked appropriately nerdy. Most of the kids already knew “Mr. Ken” from homeschool classes we’ve taught and from his doing lights and sound for “The Sound of Music” last winter; when he showed up in costume, they all had the giggles. {hee hee!} He’s such a nice, calm guy that he had trouble in rehearsals sounding mean enough when we was suppose to yell at Anne, but in the actual play, he pulled it off and made the yelling seem real enough. Besides Ken and me, my good friend Angela was the only other adult in the play; she played the storekeeper Alice Lawson. All the key roles were filled by teens, and I don’t think I’m being biased when I say they all did a fabulous job! Drew, a quiet boy with rock-star hair, played Matthew Cuthbert, and he wasn’t sure he could manage the dying scene; when he came backstage after that scene he was so proud of himself. Seeing kids like Drew realize they could stretch themselves beyond what they thought possible was so encouraging and uplifting, and blessed my soul.

Jamie as Miss StacyI played Miss Stacy, the kind teacher who comes to Avonlea after Mr. Phillips is fired. {hee hee!} She and Anne are “kindred spirits.” I had to learn to laugh on cue for the scene when Anne almost feeds me dead-mouse-flavored plum pudding. In reading the book and watching the movie, I’ve decided that Miss Stacy must’ve been a fan of the Charlotte Mason style of teaching: she gets the school children outdoors as often as possible for exercise, as well as nature study; they go on frequent nature walks, and spend time drawing; she encourages them to read good literature; and her main goal is to teach them to think for themselves. She tells the children, “I believe the best teacher serves as a guide, and if you are willing to put yourself under my guidance, I shall do my utmost to help you form strong ideals that will be the foundation of your future lives.”

We had so much fun with this! It was a lot of hard work, especially for Ken who had many “hats” to wear for this: he played Mr. Phillips, but he was also production manager, cast photographer, and more! And it was later-than-usual bedtimes for Kathryn part of the week with evening rehearsals and especially the night of the play. But we feel honored to have been part of this great cast!