Monday, October 31, 2005


Harold Gene Sullivan

Thanks for the rundown on Arsenic and Old Lace being put on by the Center on the Square. It reminded me that we put on that play when I was in high school; it may have been our Junior play. Maybe someone else remembers. I don’t even remember who was in the play or what part I had. My only memory is that the fellow who was murdered and put in the window seat really cracked up the person who went over to open the window seat and look at the body. There was the “body” laying there eating an apple. The “body” may have been Donald Johnson.

My, how times have changed from our high school days. Cliff Haislip was the drama teacher and we were putting on a play where one of the characters was pregnant. However, saying she was pregnant was a no-no. After going around with the powers that be, the compromise was saying that she “didn’t know from nothing” or some such phrase.

I’m trying to remember what plays we put on. Our Town was one. Another was a Minstrel Show, blackface and all. My part in the show was getting sent out by the Interlocutor to get him a drink of water. I returned, running back in, and the Interlocutor asked me where his water was. I replied “I saw a snake in that water and if I scared that snake half as much as he scared me, you don’t want a drink of that water!”

Tom Pry

I have a jumbled and, really, rather minimal set of memories of drama at SHS. When Cliff was still there, I remember there were a couple of upperclassmen who had kind of a deal for drama class assignments, in which one would do the writing for both, and the other would do the set design sketches for their creations.

The designer couldn’t resist temptation, however, and he turned in a last-minute set design directly to Cliff, with his buddy’s name on it. The title of the play, though, was inscribed as “Tiger’s Revenge, by Claude Balls.”

Fortunately, Cliff accepted the supposed true author’s protestation of “I DIDN’T DO THAT!”

Later, under Virginia Miller’s tutelage, we had a Night of One Act Plays. Virginia was a well-trained and knowledgeable teacher, but the one thing she’d never picked up was the necessity of comic relief. She had two dismal dramas, capped off by a self-described “tragedy:” a 1911 turkey called “A Night at An Inn” by a “Lord Dunsany.”

Well, by the time the audience got to the all-male cast in “Inn,” they were desperate for a laugh of any sort. The opportunity came when a window drapery on the back of the set fell to the ground, right on top of one of the cast members. That started it and, despite ourselves, we decided to go ahead and play it for laughs the rest of the way. Got a lot of applause.

We also got Virginia Miller totally livid, and she came roaring back to the classroom we were using as a dressing room. She started reading us a very vocal riot act. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get two thoughts strung together uninterrupted because some adult member of the audience would stick their head in the door to tell us how hilarious our play was.

Virginia finally threw in the towel and exited, never to mention that play again.

I thought, for some reason, the annual Minstrel show was done as a fund-raiser by one of the adult service clubs (i.e., Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.). Comments, anyone?

P.S. Just to be complete with the cast list for “Arsenic,” I make about a 3-minute appearance in the first act, and then do some phone and doorbell ringing. You already know how weird I am, so I won’t elaborate.


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