Go see 'The Boy Friend' this weekend!

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Their performance of the romantic comedy 'The Boy Friend' is this weekend, something kids who have been hanging around school waiting for rides or other activities may have noticed, or at least the 1920's music and dancing coming from the band room and auditorium at Salem Middle School.

‘The Boy Friend’ is the story of Polly Browne, an heiress so embarrassed by her father’s forbidding her to encourage male company for fear they would be after her money, she sends herself love letters. She attends Madame Dubonnet’s Finishing School, where all the young ladies are a-flutter with excitement for Carnival on the French Riviera — a chance to dress up, dance and, if Lady Luck is with them, acquire a boyfriend.

Tony Brockhurst is a messenger boy delivering Polly’s costume and it’s love at first sight, but neither are quite telling the truth about who they are. The hijinks are compounded when Polly’s father arrives in Nice and realizes his daughter has been under the tutelage of on old flame of his and Tony experiences a bit of mistaken identity, courtesy of the arrival of his parents, searching for him.

Senior Becca McKinley plays Tony’s mother.

“She’s very distressed about her runaway son and very snobby,” she said. “Her husband likes younger women. I like that she’s the comic relief. She’s supposed to be really funny.”

McKinley calls the story sweet and said she really enjoys the musical numbers.

“It just portrays a nice story,” she said.

This is her eighth play led by Richard Trueblood.

“My friends drew me in,” she said. “I was shy and didn’t talk and they said I had to do it and I said, ‘OK.’ Then I fell in love with it.”

She said the most challenging part so far has been learning the dance numbers.

“They’re not too bad, though.”

Junior Ethan Bower plays her son, Tony.

“He’s a British messenger boy,” he said. “I like doing a British accent and I’m a sucker for fun voices. I really like the songs.”

He agreed the dancing has been a challenge.

“There’s a whole lot of dancing,” he said. “More than any other play I’ve been in before. I’m not the best dancer, but it will come in due time.”

This is his sixth play through school and he said he became interested in acting due to his interest in visual arts.

“I’ve always been a fan of stuff like movies, TV and plays,” he said. “I thought it would be cool to do them. Plus, my friends were doing it.”

Junior Cheyenne Sanders plays Polly, “a very innocent girl who really wants a boyfriend,” and fellow junior Leah Scott plays Madame Dubonnet, the headmistress, “who’s a very proud, classy French lady, so my accent is very prominent,” said Scott. “It’s really, really fun to experience these characters.”

Scott has an extra hurdle to overcome when it comes to the dancing — she recently had surgery on both of her feet.

“Everyone is having a lot of fund with it,” she said.

“We scream-sing it in the car,” said Sanders. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Scott said she and others in the theatre department have been asking to do a play from the 1920s.

“Everyone’s really enthusiastic about it and we’re all willing to put the work in,” she said. “It’s very exciting and we’re having a lot of fun.”

Scott said she enjoyed the “giddy kind of love” in the play and Sanders said the laughter of some of the younger girl characters shows the joy in the play.

Director Richard Trueblood said working on the play has been a lot of fun.

“One of our favorite parts is getting to dance,” he agreed with the students. “I don’t care how old you get, if you dance a little, it’s a happy experience. We don’t have many dances with actual steps anymore, so this is new for them. We’re losing this type of dancing … It’s been fun to watch their faces. Their love for it shows in their faces. They’re nice kids and it’s a great show.”

Trueblood said he hopes the community will come out to support the students.

“It’s always hard to get a crowd for the arts,” he said. “When I was in school, you went because there was nothing else going on, but now, you’re competing with athletic events and activities at home. We’d love to have a good crowd for this.”

He said Band Director Bonnie Harmon has been hard at work on the costumes.

“She takes so much pride in the costumes,” he said. “There’s nothing we can talk about where she’s not a part of it.”

“It’s a really good time,” said McKinley. “You’ll leave happy!”

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students. The play will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. on Monday.


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