Small cast, big energy
Chisholm Waner and Dante Snyder are the only seniors in Marion High School’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” but each feels at home playing the part of a younger sibling on stage.
“We’re more chaotic, more childish than the other ones,” Waner said. “We were fine with it because that matches our personalities more.”
Snyder will play Linus Van Pelt, and Waner has been cast as Sally Brown. They see those roles as outlets for the energy they bring to the stage.
“Once one person has it then everybody else just feeds off it,” Waner said. “Dante and I always try to bring on more energy. That’s easy to do with our roles because they’re very energetic and hyper.”
Adam Gudenkauf and Ruth Springer are in their first year as directors, as are several of the musical’s actors.
The talent helps freshen up Marion’s theater program, Snyder said.
“A lot of them are just getting into this,” he said. “Starting in this atmosphere, with new directors and a new cast, it’s exciting. It is a lot of stress.”
This year the production also has good costumes that are very accurate to The Peanuts themselves, Waner said.
“The costumes we have do a good job of resembling the cartoon characters,” she said. “I’m so happy for that. I’m glad they didn’t just give us colors that somewhat looked like the characters.”
Morning practices are expected of all cast members. That doesn’t mean morning rehearsals always are a good thing, Snyder said.
“They’re like last resort practices,” he said. “You know you’re in trouble if we have a morning practice because then you still don’t have your stuff done.”
This year was different, because the cast knew morning practices were a possible requirement with changes in how schools are operating, Waner said.
“It’s exhausting but we know it’s worth it,” she said. “It’s little things that in the end will all come together.”
Snyder agrees the sacrifice is worth it. Seeing people there to watch the play Nov. 13 to 15 is a feeling he already is looking forward to.
“Once the lights come up and you see that audience on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what you’re going to give them, it’s the best feeling ever,” Snyder said. “I can’t possibly put it into words. It’s just an atmosphere you have to be there to understand.”
While early rehearsals can be a sign of urgency, it also helps that that expectations aren’t the same as at practices later in the day, Waner said.
“They don’t expect us to be perfect,” she said. “It’s basically to get the basics down for a song and get a good idea of it. Then at night is when we really bring it to life.”