Dottie Havlik writes the plays for the River’s Way and Theatre Bristol collaboration.
The first three plays were based on familiar stories. The first was based on fairy tales, such as the “Three Bears”; the second came from Shakespeare’s tragedies and the third from folk tales.
This year is the first play that is not based on a familiar tale. Havlik has created a new morality play, “Real Heroes,” that promotes kindness and unity.
“It starts off with an introduction that long ago, people in this land had ancestors who were kind to one another and followed the kindness rules. The play follows them as they devolved and divided into groups of apples and oranges. Apples don’t socialize or be nice to anyone but apples, and the oranges keep to themselves also.
“Two people decide to bring back the kindness rules and become the first real heroes. The group continues to grow.
“One of the characters is Nick, who is an Apple who fights his fears to walk across the school cafeteria to sit with someone who isn’t an Apple or an Orange; then two more people join the group, which gives you three new heroes. Eventually there’s a group dance and everyone decides to join together and not be Apples and Oranges anymore, but instead be the people in the land again,” Havlik says.
There are two things all Havlik’s plays for this collaboration have in common: knock-knock jokes and silly songs. The plays are performed in short skits interspersed with knock-knock jokes or a silly song.
Havlik chose knock-knock jokes to assist actors who have trouble expressing themselves verbally. “With knock-knock jokes, you know what people are saying. If one person says ‘knock knock,’ you know the other is saying ‘who’s there,’” she says.
“Telling stories about real heroes is a message we all need today. Of course, we love the knock-knock jokes the best,” Samantha Gray, executive director of Theatre Bristol, says.
The cast is Zoe Richard (Granny), Steve Baskett (Narrator 1), Andrew Hunt (Narrator 2), Faith Vance (Narrator 3) and Tom Hanlon (Narrator 4).
Apples from Theatre Bristol are Claire Hankins, Carly Street, Lilly Hankins, Robert Havlik, Andrew Hunt and Bryn Kestner. Apples from River’s Way are Tom Hanlon, Justin Sutherland, Brooke Otey, Rachel Morrison, Jamie, Connor Griffitts, Nick Bell, Courtney, Jake, Maggie and Jonathan.
Oranges from Theatre Bristol are Mason White, Libby Street, Steve Baskett, Faith Vance, Avery White and Lydia Brown. Oranges from River’s Way are Adam Wheeless, Matt Kyle, Jonah Partain, Thomas Gathercole, Brandi Hardin, Kandi Burke, Hayleigh, Camden Richard, Justin Hale, Jonny Hamilton and Caleb Stone.
Actors play several characters in the play. All actors have lines and participate in the jokes and songs between each scene.
Performance dates are Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 2:30 p.m.