Saturday, March 18, 2006

Play Day

Today was the big day. The performance was upon us. Date City's junior high school/elementary school students (not all of them, dummy) were in a performance of the Missoula Children's Theatre's "Beauty Lou and the Country Beast". That's right, Missoula. As in Missoula, Montana. As in Date and Missoula are sister cities.

That's just weird.

The play (actually, I guess it could qualify as a musical) is a country-fried version of Beauty and the Beast, with Beauty as the daughter of a former rodeo cowboy/current farmer and the Beast as a grumpy young man who lives in a gold mine. Beauty Lou wishes on a wishbone that he will be turned into a beast.

Hilarity ensues.

It's actually a pretty cute and effective reimagining of the story. I was impressed. The past month or so has been made up of Monday and Friday rehearsals where the different cast members divided up into groups and practiced their lines. I was the one of the group leaders for the two Beauty Lous. They got their lines down pretty quickly. Getting them to put emotion into their lines, however...THAT was the hard part.

This past week has been made up of practices every night. The big crush right before the performance? That was part of it. The other part was that two members of the Missoula Children's Theatre came to Date to help with the performance. So every day after work, I would hop in my new car and make the drive out to Date, picking up some students along the way so we could all go to practice together. After three-and-a-half hours of practice, I would drive those same students back to their respective homes, eat some dinner with one of the families, and then cruise back to Muroran.

And then pass out. I was tired this week.

Anyway, today I took off for Date a little before 8 AM, picked up the students, grabbed some food at a local convenience store, and drove everybody over to practice. I spent most of the morning reading and folding pamphlets for the performance that night.

Here are some photos:

A scene from rehearsal.

The least most of it.

The farm animals.

Clyde, the dog. (The real star of the show)

A shot from the final rehearsal.

All told, the play went really well. There was a huge turnout, as this year's performance was to be the last one held in Date. Not enough money to fund it any longer, according to the city government. After ten years of fun performances, the Date City - MCT relationship was coming to an end. Not enough money.
Yep. Not even when the MCT folks offered to do it next year for only half price.

The city had already announced that this year was to be the last, see. Can't go back now.

Repave a road that doesn't need repaving? Check.
Pay a bloated salary to a bloated staff of public servants? Check.
Dig up the funds for a children's play that gives junior high school and elementary school kids valuable experience with English and interacting with foreigners, especially when the folks charging you money offer to do it for half price? No can do.

You wonder where people's priorities lie...


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