Thursday, April 28, 2005


Leland Public School presents Honk! The Musical on May 13-15 and May 20-22. For tickets, call 256-9857

I hate leaving Leelanau county in the nice weather. We work so hard to get to spring, and it is so fleeting. May is a dicey month; either plants are in the garden and must be babied past the frosty night stage, or they are overgrown in their flats and need constant watering.

I am also sad about missing the second week of Honk! The high school kids have been rehearsing the show for weeks now and assembling costumes and props. The CD has been permanently lodged in my car CD player. Even Anna walks around the house singing of "A poultry tale of life down on the farm!"

Honk! is a musical interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's Ugly Duckling story. It was written and first produced in England, but is becoming a popular production for small groups. I have become quite enamoured of the score and I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks on stage. Our director, Jeremy Evans, has a gift for getting the best performances out of kids who might otherwise never have ventured into musical theater. (At our house, it is common to break into song in the midst of whatever is happening. Other people have told me that this sort of thing does not actually happen in "real life".)

Honk!'s themes are well suited to high school life. Wondering about fitting in, barnyard cliques, holding one's head up high while paddling like hell underneath, these are all high school. Anthony Drewe, one of the authors, said this:
The principle theme of the show is clearly the acceptance of others who may appear different for whatever reason. In our increasingly multi-cultural society school bullying, racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and any other "isms" you care to mention are still prevalent to varying degrees. I don't even like the word "tolerance" as this implies having to put up with something that, in truth, is to one's disliking. Acceptance, compassion, and understanding are far better words.

After a conversation with Jeremy yesterday, I am scheming to create at least one big egg, or perhaps one big egg and a series of smaller ones:

A photo from the England's National Theatre production of Honk!

I have located a source for plaster gauze, but what to use for a mold?

A few years ago I helped out at a one day powwow in Traverse City as part of the National Cherry Festival. I had been to weekend powwows before, but it was a different experience to be at one powwow from beginning to end. First it was just an open space. Then we set up chairs and a place for the MC. Then the drummers started and the grass dancers came and tromped down the grass. There was a prayer. The colors (flags) entered, the veterans were honored, then the shawl dancers, jingle dancers, fancy dancers, the men's and women's traditionals, all took their turn. There was an intertribal ("Everybody dances!") then the colors left the arena, the closing prayer, the drums stopped, we folded up all the chairs, and that was that. It was like it never happened, except for the faint circle on the grass.

I love this aspect of live theater, especially amateur productions. For a few hours we share a vision of a whole other world, then the book closes and it's back to everyday life. If you weren't there, you missed it.

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