Hissing the villian and cheering the hero, a great time was hadby one and all. The high melodrama in the children's theater production "Heaven Bless All Children" was perhaps not entirely appreciated by the children but the adults in the audience were enchanted.
The play, written by Richard W. Thompson, instructor in the Fullerton Junior College Drama Department, was staged by members of the Theatre Arts department on March 6, 7, 8, 14 and 15. And what a delightful experience it was!
The play was clever, happy and and exciting. It was, for the most part, fast paced and held audience interest. Mr. Thompson used many inventive and highly imaginative devices in his play.
One of the most unique was the use of the storybook characters Dick and Jane, played by Miss Diane Perez and Wayne Bearss, to introduce the play, the characters and the settings. Dick and Jane did a marvelous job from the first scene when they asked the children in the audience to help them read the signs through the set changes when they explained the story development.
Costumes and sets throughout the play were unusually well done and eminently appropriate.
Mark Klapfenstein as Simon Filagree was the villain to the core - a more lovable bad guy there never was. Klondike Cora, played by Miss Polly Norby, was the epitome of the bad girl turned good and the kids loved her. Ron Coffman, as Moose Meat the Eskimo, pantomined his part and was roundly loved by everyone in the audience, large and small. But Harry Anderson, in his dual role as Shyluck and Wormwood, brought down the house. The kids were convulsed with laughter when he appeared as the stupid butler who wears a maid's dress over his trousers and boots.
Props were handed out of holes in the walls - a charming idea. And the adults in the audience were fascinated by the train which consisted of Bradley Watson (headlight), Miss Patty Richard and Miss Terry Sidell (whistle and engine noises) and Miss Beth Kallas (from whose caboose a lantern hung).
Mack Marvel's dog sled was actually pulled by Moose Meat but it contained two small live poodles which made a big hit with the children.
The intermission acts, while highly entertaining to the adults, were perhaps over the heads of some -of the children. The first act consisted of three lovely cancan dancers, Miss Kathy Carter, Miss Geri Cofone and Miss Terry Sidell. Miss Confone did an excellent job as the clumsy beginner. In the second act, Robb Hennessey and Bradley Watson were janitors ,one of whom kept trying to perform on-stage tricks while his partner wasn't looking. The adults laughed uproariously but the children didn't catch on until the would-be actor did a card trick.
The Drama department can be justly proud of its most recent effort. If you didn't see it, you missed a good one. It made this writer feel like a kid again.