“As your body grows bigger, your mind grows flowers, it’s great to learn, ‘cause knowledge is power! Schoolhouse Rocky, a chip off the block. Your favorite schoolhouse, Schoolhouse Rock!” Back in the early 1970’s David McCall’s son was having difficulty with multiplication at his school and yet knew the lyrics to current rock songs. This gave David McCall an idea to make a song that had the multiplication lyrics in it. He believed this would help his son learn multiplication facts easier. The first song for Schoolhouse Rock! Was “Three is a Magic Number.” There were a total of 46 songs that aired on ABC from 1973-1989. Most of the songs were based on folk or jazz music because that was popular at the time.
Since Schoolhouse Rock! is so old, Childsplay Theatre decided to update quite a bit of the show. For example, songs weren’t jazz and folk music, but instead different types of rock music were used without changing the lyrics. The set design to this play was based on Tetris and Minecraft. The reason Childsplay Theatre did this was so that it would be like any other thing a kid might see today.
The cast had a variety of different shaped blocks that were used to move, sit or stand upon to build props. They even took imaginary selfies, which sounds a bit weird, but made the play more modern.
The cast members were two men and two women. In the play, three of the cast members were all supposed to be a part of the fourth member’s mind, will and emotions. This man was a teacher who was scared to go to his first day of school. He was afraid that he wouldn’t do a very good job and wouldn’t know enough information to teach the students. Early in the morning the teacher turned on the television and was watching an episode of Schoolhouse Rock!. Three people popped out of the television. This both surprised and amazed the teacher. He thought he was possibly going mad (also known as crazy). The three people explained to him that they were all different parts of him and would help him prepare for the day.
When I interviewed the actors, this is what I learned:
- Good theatre, in the actor’s opinions, is when there’s “honesty” in the performance, good storytelling, and when it keeps you thinking after the performance is over.
- I learned that they had to learn in order to do the play.
- One of the actor’s favorite songs is “Bill” because it’s the song he remembers most from when he was a kid. Another actor likes “Preamble” the best because she actually used that song in school, and that’s what Schoolhouse Rock! is all about – helping kids remember those facts in school.
- The cast worked well together because they all had different talents that helped them to make the play great.
I could tell that the cast really enjoyed each other and they had a good sense of humor. I think they did a really good job on the performance. I enjoyed it and it was one of the best plays I’ve seen.
Childsplay Kid Reporter