Defiance troupe presents ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’
If you’re looking for an escape or just something light to do with your family, Defiance Community Players is here to help with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” which shows at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 with 2 p.m. Saturday matinées at Mountain View Church, 2195 County Road 154. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.
“It’s about rediscovering things that you may have forgotten that are really there,” said director Chip Wells. “It’s saying that there’s always hope and there’s always a source of happiness.”
A former elementary school librarian, Wells’ own first book fair book was “Introducing Peanuts” back when the franchise was fresh.
“I’ve always had this affection for its very real-life philosophy,” she said. “I believe the writers of comic strips are out and out brilliant. They can tell a whole story in four frames.”
The stage adaptation reflects that in what amounts to a series of vignettes.
“There are so many segments that it’s almost like a comic strip,” Wells said. “I loved it in its first version, and I think it’s much more exciting and lively in its revised version.”
The performance also borrows heavily from the style of the classic television specials and includes live musicians for the upbeat score.
“It’s really challenging music,” Wells said. “There are times when you have six parts singing at the same time.”
The set is straightforward with a brick wall, bench, and of course Snoopy’s doghouse.
“Snoopy is such an iconic cartoon character. It’s kind of fun to recreate that in this show,” said Lisa Langer, who portrays the famous pooch. “Nobody understands how crazy thoughtful imaginative he is.”
The only one who really seems to get Snoopy is Charlie Brown himself, played by Colorado Mountain College student Travis Wilson. Through the play, Wilson has found more affection for the character than he had before.
“I thought he was kind of flat. As I’ve gotten closer, I realize I really resonate with Charlie. In some ways, we all do. He’s the everyman,” he said. “He shows that he’s more than a bumbling mope.”
That’s not to say that he doesn’t have some moments worthy of eye rolling.
“Schultz can make 6-year-olds sound like prophets sometimes, but they’re still children,” Wilson said. “He takes things so seriously. Everything is such a big deal, even when it’s not.”
“People know this character, so my goal is to be the Charlie Browniest I can be,” he added.
Perhaps the strongest personality in the ensemble cast, however, is Heather Porterfield’s Lucy.
“Everyone has a Lucy in their life,” said Porterfield, a senior at Glenwood Springs High and a regular Defiance player. The show is a return to her first stage — she used to go church there as a kid. Now, it’s a matter of trying to harness that youth in her performance.
“The hardest part has been finding the 6-year-old in me,” she said. I’ve played older roles, but never younger.”
In fact, having adult actors play the kids is an intentional decision on Wells’ part.
“I wanted people who were far enough away from being 5 or 6 to really reflect on that,” she said. “If you’re not presenting something by kids, you should have something for kids. This is one show where it’s absolutely safe. We don’t have to edit out or explain anything. It’s like walking into a big hug.”
That’s not to say it won’t appeal to an adult audience.
“It’s not just a kids’ show; it’s a human show. It will resonate on different levels for different people and different ages,” she said. “My goal is always the same in theater — whether I’m producing, acting, or collecting props. I was told early on that the purpose of theater is to ameliorate the human condition. I’m confident that this production will be exactly that.”
For more information, visit www. DefianceCommunityPlayers.com.
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