Immanuel Christian School is bringing the Peanuts gang to life this year with their production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
"The students really wanted to do this one, and I’ve wanted to do You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown for a long time," said Jeff Dykstra, a teacher at the school and producer of the show, which runs April 28 and 29. "We’re having a lot of fun with it. It’s a play where the humble person does get recognized. So it fits with our school values."
Students from Grades 7 through 11 auditioned for the six lead roles and seven chorus parts last semester. At the beginning of this semester, director Rob Bonefaas cast the parts, and they’ve been working hard ever since.
"We’ve been very intensely practising for the last two months," Dykstra admitted. "We have practices twice a week, three hours on Saturdays."
"We’re putting in four and a half hours per week," said Melannie Teitsma, a Grade 11 student playing the part of Lucy. "There’s also a bunch of volunteers making our costumes and the props. There’s a lot of work going into it."
"Seeing their progression through the rehearsals has been amazing," said co-director Kristen Oosterhoff. "Seeing ther commitment and hardwork paying off already, it’s great."
Teitsma said that she "absolutely loves" playing Lucy.
"Lucy is a very sassy character who is super pushy, who tries to get her way all the time," she explained. "I love the sass, just making fun of Charlie, it’s so fun."
Josh DeVries, the Grade 9 student playing music whiz Schroeder, has enjoyed watching the play come together.
"The first day of practice, it seemed like we were nowhere," he said. Now, it seems like we’ve made a lot of progress, that we’re ready for it."
Joel Gortemaker, Grade 10, has been cast in the play’s titular role. He said he’s having a blast playing Charlie Brown.
"He’s just a failure at everything, which is not too hard to act out," Gortemaker said.
Along with the six lead characters from Charles M. Schulz’s classic Peanuts comic strip, Immanuel Christian’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown also features a chorus of seven students, mostly from Grade 7.
"You like that because you’re building up to the next years where they’ll be in starring roles," Dykstra said.
The play also features a running piano accompaniment, performed by Grade 11 student Savannah Mostert, who said she’s put in "a lot" of time into practising Clark Gesner’s score.
"It’s been hours of work," she said.
While each of the cast members have their own favourite scenes or aspects of the play that they’re looking forward to sharing with their peers, friends, and families, they all agree that the chaotic "book report" scene that closes the first act is a blast.
"The book report part is fun because we’re all participating," DeVries explained.
"I still laugh at some of the same scenes, every time," said Oosterhoff.
Immanuel Christian School’s production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown will be performed at the school (215 Rougeau Ave.) on April 28 and 29. Showtime is 7 p.m. Cost is $15 for single tickets, $10 per ticket if you buy more than one and $10 for children, high school or post-secondary students, and seniors. Call 204-661-8937 to reserve tickets.