The Groom Has Cold Feet (and my life as a director)

When I got back to Faith last August I had just had a whirlwind of a summer with no real time for reading plays. So, I began my frantic search for a script that would meet my ultimate goal of “display the talents of this particular group of kids.” Finding scripts is a daunting task. For me as a director it is absolutely the WORST part of the process of producing a play. We aren’t auditioning the world here only our world and that does limit what’s available to us. Sometimes content limits script use particularly when copyrights do not allow for editing. Sometimes the set or costumes or music limits us because what is needed is too elaborate for what we can accomplish. Sometimes we don’t have the right number of males vs females. And sometimes, frustratingly, we are unable to obtain the rights to produce a show because we are outside of America. I find this to be the silliest of all reasons. So sometimes you settle for something you aren’t totally thrilled with but figure you can make work and the process of making it something everyone involved will be thrilled with begins.

My secondary goal when directing is is “excellence on a budget.” It’s not necessarily a monetary budget, although, that is a consideration, but for us it’s more of a time commitment budget. Kids are busy with other extras, classes, homeworks and life. Crews contain adults that are also teachers and staff with multiple hats already. We’ve learned very well how to do what we can with what we have. Sometimes the “less is more” idea is very much the way to go, especially when the help is unknown. But it’s not about low expectations, it’s about figuring out where excellence meets reality and setting the bar there. Because, hey, there is nothing to say we can’t leap over that bar with inches, meters, or miles to spare if we find it possible along the way.

I was able to see these and some other goals met on several occasions this year. The first of which was producing “The Groom has Cold Feet (& the Legend of Lightning Larry)” which performed near the end of November. Over the last couple of years I’ve been able to offer an opportunity to the younger student body by directing an “underclassman” production. The seniors were putting on a play as a fundraiser, the high schoolers had a class that produced a play and the big show second semester almost always features upperclassmen which meant there was very little opportunity for younger students to get parts where they had lines and got to try their hand at acting. It can be a little crazy with these little squirrely creatures, but I love them, and we have a great time together.

cast shot

Left: Harley comes to town lookin’ fer a wife. Mabel tells him, “you can’t just buy one at the mercantile, you gotta sweep a lady off her feet.”
Right: The town gossips talk about the upcoming weddin’ of the towns proprietor, “Who would wanna marry Albert webster?”

Hazel is not happy about her daughter marrying Albert Webster because she knows that Kayla May has only agreed to it because otherwise he will foreclose on their farm. Meanwhile, Caroline overhears Hazel threaten Mr. Webster.

Left: Sheriff Tickle agrees to hire Milton as his deputy to avoid hirin’ his daughter but Milton is “as dumb as a post that fell down in the wind.”
Right: A mysterious stranger enters town and threatens Mr. Albert for money he owes and Albert agrees to call of his wedding and foreclose the farm to get his money.

Weddin’ mornin’ comes around, guests arrive only to hear a gunshot and find out that Mr. Webster has “cold feet.” He’s been killed dead! Of course, the town gossips all know who done it…

Left: In Beverly’s version of the killin’ Darleen, Mr. Websters ex-girlfriend, squeezes Albert’s neck like she was squeezin’ lemons to make lemonade! Only, Mr. Webster wasn’t killed by stranglin’…
Right: While the Sheriff and others deliberate about who done it other townsfolk tell the Legend of Lightning Larry!

After some delibration… We learn that Viril was stealin’ loan papers. Gladys had her finger in the weddin’ cake. Hazel wasn’t in town (she was gonna murder him after the weddin’ sos she could get all his money). Darleen was stealin’ weddin’ gifts. And Harley, well, he’s too dumb (and poor) to have done it. That only leaves one person… Kayla May! Only it was an accident, she only meant to scare him when she found out he was callin’ off the weddin’. Poor Kayla May.

Left: Suprise! Milton catches the bankrobber!     Right: And Sarah FINALLY get’s to haul in the bad guys!

Since the murder was solved everyone was free to go… except it seemed an awful shame to waste a perfectly good weddin’ cake.
“Do you think we…?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“I do too.”

All photos thanks to Chris Kuhlow.
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