At the end of each Adrian High School fall play season, I feel somewhat like television host Carol Burnett in her old washerwoman costume. She would sit on her bucket, look around the set and sing “I'm so glad we had this time together, Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’ ”
This year’s production of “The Beverly Hillbillies” evoked those same emotions in me. Another talented cast and crew of high school students pulled together to take many of the adults in the audience on a trip back to the 1960s when “prit’ near” anybody could finish the lines after “Come and listen to a story ‘bout a man named Jed.”
As often I have done in my 13 years of directing the fall play, I watched actors and actresses continually peeking at their scripts during the last practices, and I wondered whether this production would ever would be ready for its own prime time. Each year the students somehow manage to cram the lines into their memory banks and pull off another entertaining production. Watching the students bring to life Jed, Granny, Elly Mae, Mr. and Mrs. Drysdale, Miss Hathaway and other colorful characters was a treat.
Supt. Roger Graff, who was in the play’s audience and one of the faithful watchers of “The Beverly Hillbillies” sitcom, said he, and probably many of us, always watched the weekly show, hoping that someday the Clampetts would
smartin’ up and figure out Beverly Hills. They never did, and that is perhaps why those characters were so endearing.
However, more endearing to me than the actual plots and characters of the fall plays are the students who make each production so memorable. I remember my first play in the fall of 2000,“Who’s Dying to Be a Millionaire.” I looked at Audrey Brake, a veteran of play directing, and said, “Will this ever really turn into a play?” She assured me it would. I still laugh recalling Jared Henrikson and Seth Bullerman strutting around the set as cops. I remember how the cast somehow managed to restructure the play in the middle of the performance after someone had said a line too early, sending the cast running off the set two pages before they were supposed to.
Each year, each cast, presents not only entertainment for their peers, parents, friends and community, but they dish up a heapin’ helping of memories for their director. Thanks. “I’m so glad we had this time together.”