On the 21st and 22nd of April, the Middle School took the stage in a lively production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. During a dress rehearsal leading up to the much-anticipated premiers, we caught up with some of the cast and crew. In between running scenes, they found some time to talk about their work on the show, about their relationships with their characters, and about why they were so eager to share their version of the classic musical with the larger ISB community.
Capucine is a member of the crew and plays the flute in the show. She spoke to us about some of the challenges of working with so many props and helping to get the large ensemble casts ready — there were two separate casts for each night’s shows — for “such a complicated show with many different scenes and musical numbers.”
Manu can relate to her character of Schroeder because, like her, he is a musician too. Also Manu said “He doesn’t talk that much but, when he does, he’s very big. I have him yelling a lot, and I like to yell!”
Zachary, who interprets the role of Rerun, proved true the old adage that there are no small parts, only small actors. Rerun has one “cool” line that Zachary “practiced and practiced and, basically, mastered” but, at this stage of the rehearsal process, he was “more concerned with nailing the choreography.” His take on Rerun is that the character says little but makes his presence felt in a big way through “his dynamic singing, dancing, and other creative gestures on the stage.”
Alex, who plays the Good Man himself, pointed out that Charlie Brown is such a great character to inhabit because “anyone can relate to him, to sometimes not having enough confidence to do what you want to do, or to simply feeling like nobody sees you. Charlie Brown often feels like he’s the worst, even though anybody who knows him, knows he’s quite the opposite!”
Liam can identify with his character Linus, because “he is young, and because he’s young he’s often underestimated.” He explained that “I really don’t like when people underestimate people based on their age. I think Linus would agree with me. He’s very intelligent and there is wisdom in every line he says. If an adult were to say something he said it would be one thing, but Linus doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves.”
Oscar loves playing Snoopy, because “he’s very emotive. He makes a lot of noises and gestures. You can always tell how he’s feeling by his facial expressions. And, he’s a dog! So, he’s unique. He always has these smart lines. It’s really fun and relatable, because I also love making funny comments with my friends.”
Eva Luna plays Peppermint Patty, and her take on the character is that “She’s very sporty. I’m not, exactly, but every now and then I play soccer with my brother and with my little sisters. She’s a fun character to play. She always thinks she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s not! She’s very matter-of-fact, but she can be goofy too, especially when it comes to her interactions with Charlie Brown, who she has a crush on!”
Giana “does not really relate” so much to her character Lucy, because “she’s mean to everyone, and she’s bossy.” She says “that’s not really who I am, but it’s fun to play her!” She added, “I think, on the inside, she’s actually very kind and wants to help people.”
In our conversations, members of the cast and crew kept coming back to the idea of the timelessness of Peanuts. Zachary pointed out that “it’s not stated in the script that the action is taking place in one particular time period” and that, while the Peanuts crew “doesn’t have the technology we do, they do have computers.” Savannah, who works on the technical crew and show design teams, added that what she likes about these stories is that “they aren’t specific to one point in time” and “the characters’ clothes can be fashion from before, or from today.” Capucine said that the great thing is that “you can imagine it’s any time you like!” Alex thinks the play has resonated with so many people for so long, because “there is this large group of different characters who contradict one another, so there is always someone you can relate to.”
Performing Arts Department Head and Director of the show Justin Indovina wrote in his Director’s Note, “ We can learn a lot from Charlie Brown and his friends. As quoted in the final song of the show, ‘Happiness is anyone and anything at all, that’s loved by you.’” “Happiness” lists all the little joys in life, like “five different crayons”, “catching a firefly”, “singing together”, and “pizza with sausage”. For everyone in the audience on the 21st and 22nd of April, they surely had one more “happy” thing to add to their lists, the spectacular 2022 ISB Middle School performance of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!