In the first car scene, Sal is praying not to get into an accident, and she is telling her grandparents a story all about Phoebe. This is the first scene where you meet the grandparents. The grandparents are important because they are taking her on the journey to go see her mother. They are trying to make her accept that her mother is dead in a nicer way than just telling her. They visit all the places that her mother had gone to on her journey.
When Phoebe and Sal are sitting at the table, when they found out that Phoebe's mother has gone missing, Phoebe's father (Michael Peters) says, "Let's not malinger." And then Phoebe says "Malinger? What does that mean?" And then he says, look it up. And then when he hands her it, she says "My mother is missing, and my father hands me a dictionary!!" I think this line shows that she really needs to find her mother and she is really really upset about it. She feels flabbergasted about her father giving her the dictionary because looking in a dictionary is not helping to find her mother.
In the scene where Mr. Birkway (Joe Zarrow) is reading the journals of the class, I thought it was really funny when he read "kisses taste like chicken." Kisses do not taste like chicken, and I know that. Except for somebody that has just eaten chicken. The class learns all about Sal's mother's blackberry kiss. Her mother kissed the tree and Sal thought that she could find a little black stain on the tree that was of a blackberry kiss. Sal thinks of trees as being like god. She thought of her mother as being kind of her guide when she was alive. When her mother died, she thought about the blackberry kiss, and then she thought that trees were the closest thing to her mother. So then they were kind of like her second mother.
The sleepover scene was a great scene. I liked how Mrs. Cadaver (Dani Bryant) was walking around with a flashlight and it kind of showed that she was outside in the dark. And the part of the stage she was on was dark, and she pretended to chop down trees. Phoebe (Baize Buzan) really seemed like she needed to find out in the scene what Mrs. Cadaver was doing, and she really needed to find out what happened to her mom. Mrs. Cadaver looked real creepy because her hair looked really witchy and messy like they said in the book, and it was red like they said in the book. She looked a lot like I imagined her. It was suspenseful because you are afraid that Mrs. Cadaver is going to see Phoebe and Sal because they are in plain sight, leaning very far out the window. Then, because you think she's a murderer, you think she is going to chop their heads off.
In the scene where Sal and Phoebe are in the dark with Mrs. Partridge (Millicent Hurley) they are going to try to sneak in and find clues about how Mrs. Cadaver killed Mr. Cadaver and killed Phoebe's mother. That is what they think she has done. I liked how they found mysterious blood stains on the rug because Phoebe marks them somehow and she finds out that even though Mrs. Partridge is blind, she can tell who she is and that she's kneeling down. I thought that was cool. She is kind of like a fortune teller--only a very old fortune teller.
There was a scene that creeped me out where Sal's Gram gets bitten by a snake in the ankle and they have to get the venom out. I thought it was scary when they had to get the venom out because they had to rip a bigger hole open and she was screaming. I think they chose to do it offstage because there were some pretty little kids there and it would be kind of scary to see someone get a big snake bite. You know they are in the water offstage because you hear a big splash and then "Come on in, Chickabiddy." I think I know why they didn't do it onstage; because it would be kind of hard to actually have a snake that looks like it is biting somebody. And it is not very easy to have a river on stage either. There is an unknown boy (Kyle Johnson) that comes up and says, "this is private property." And Gramps says something like "I never heard of a lake that was private property, and I didn't see a sign." I liked this part because it's suspenseful. You are thinking that it actually is private property or something like that. You are worried about something else while she is getting her snake bite, but then--when you find out that she's gotten her snake bite--then you are worried about that and the other thing is over.
There was a kind of confusing part in this play when Sal was in the car. It looked like she and Phoebe were in the same scene, but I am not positive they were. Sal was not in Phoebe's house; she was so far away from Phoebe that they couldn't be in the same room together. Sal was talking to Phoebe's family from inside the car, but Phoebe is in Ohio and Sal is in Lewiston, Idaho. I think she was thinking about Phoebe and how she was getting along with the Lunatic (Kyle Johnson) as a brother. Usually when a person in a movie or play is telling a story, they show you what's happening in the story so then everybody knows what is happening better. Sal isn't telling a story in this scene, but she is imagining. It took me just a few seconds to figure out that she was imagining this because these times were actually pretty close to each other, but not too close.
The set was really cool. It was done by Simon Lashford. I really liked the swing that was swinging on the tree. I liked it because Sal talked a lot about having fun on the swing tree, and I thought that really brought out how much fun she had on it. I liked how they did the car. They had a steering wheel and seats that looked like car old-fashioned seats from like Harold Lloyd time. And they also had a backseat that was like the front seat but without the steering wheel.
This play is a very very very sad play. Lots of people die, mothers go away from their children, people don't always get to live wherever they want. You like seeing sad things because sad things can sometimes make you happy. It is not like it is heartbreaking and you are going to die of sadness because it is not really happening, and you know it is not really happening because they are just actors. It makes you sad, but when you come out you are so happy that you saw such a great play about sadness.
I think people that would like this show are people who like mysteries, secrets, going on long trips, and getting to be happy and getting to be sad almost at the exact same time. I think this play should be for ages seven and up. I was just the right age. I think this play is heartbreaking, but it makes you remember how precious your parents are to you.
Photos: Johnny Knight