The show must go on.
The cast and crew of the Bainbridge High School play “Ramona Quimby” learned the true meaning of that phrase during the matinee performance May 7 when a power outage forced the production to raise the curtain without electricity, sound effects and two original cast members.
Despite losing students to illness two days before the show, two others stepped in, learned the lines and took to the stage.
Nobody noticed. The Bainbridge High School theater was filled with elementary school-aged kids who were eager to see the storybook character Ramona come alive on stage. Many brought their favorite book to get autographs from Ramona herself.
The play is about 8-year-old Ramona Quimby, a character from Beverly Cleary’s children’s books. According to Cleary, Ramona is, “unpredictable, exasperating, boisterous and independent.” Always aggravating her older sister, Beezus, constantly getting into trouble and sometimes making a big, noisy fuss when things don’t go her way.
It’s a sweet story about how being a kid can be hard and how we do what we can to get through life’s ups and downs.
BHS senior Addie Beermann played Ramona, and the young audience laughed, bugging her older sister and parents with her antics.
Beezus, whose real name is Beatrice, was played by Eagle Harbor High School senior Lyra Cromwell, who introduced the Quimby family and friends on Klickitat Street and set the stage for Ramona’s passage through third grade and through her family relationships.
Beermann and Cromwell have been acting since elementary school and were entertaining and held the attention of the audience.
“I love that Ramona is a very outgoing girl and that she can speak her own mind,” Beermann said. “And I love that through all the craziness she gives, she has a sentimental value for her family. It kind of fits me because I’m a character actor.”
Cromwell has been acting in community theater since the fourth grade and narrated all the scenes. She didn’t miss a beat when the power came back on with lights and sound.
“I don’t really get stage fright anymore,” she said. “Every show is an amazing experience. To be with the cast to build this together, that even for a handful of weekends is bringing joy to all these people. The beauty of theater is that it’s so ephemeral. It happens for one night.”
The third senior in the play was first-time performer Cece Marshall, who played Mrs. Griggs. She wanted to try acting before graduating. She doesn’t have aspirations to study acting in college, but might try community theater. “It was a very fun experience, to be around everyone.”
A couple of students who gave notable performances were sophomore Olivia Opalski as Aunt Bea and freshman Hugo Gustafson, whose musical outbursts and physical comedy hysterically stole every scene. Piper Henderson stepped into the role of Mrs. Kemp, learning her lines in less than 48 hours filling in for Kit Marquez, who was sick.
Opalski, who has been performing since she was 4, liked her quirky character because she puts her family before a lot of people. “This was a fun cast because I made a lot of friends.”
BHS theater teacher and director D’Arcy Clements said she was proud of how they performed in front of the 160 people in attendance, especially with all the adversity they had to overcome. “After the big pep talk, I said you got this. My proudest moment was when the power came on, they kept going.”
The next performances are scheduled for May 13 at 7 p.m. and May 14 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Bainbridge High School theater. Tickets are available at https://wa-bainbridge-lite.intouchreceipting.com/bhstheatre.