A stage full of talent and a guaranteed belly laugh is something many of us could use in our lives right now. Director Steven Wells explains why You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is so timely.
“Charlie Brown shows us that the best person you can be is yourself,” says Wells. “As we fight with who we are, and anxiety and depression, this performance shows us that we don’t need to try and be anyone other than who we are. We are good just the way we are. We may not be sports stars or famous or great at music. We are all different and, in that way, we are all the same. The best version of your self is your true self and that makes you special.”
Richelle Hoosier, who plays Charlie Brown, says, “I feel like this show is perfect for our time in history because it is really a very simple, sweet, and pure show. There is so much going on in the world and in our own lives that is heavy or negative and Charlie Brown allows the audience to take an innocent break into a stress-free time.”
The Peanuts characters are an innocent age frozen in time that most remember like the smell of fresh chocolate cookies coming out of the oven – pure pleasure and fond memories of one’s own childhood’s ups and downs. “I think the take away of the show is that, no matter how bad a situation or a day feels, there is always a hope for a better tomorrow. And that happiness really does lie in the smallest things and we shouldn’t forget that,” says Hoosier.
“For me, the biggest things that stand out are me being a full-time college student, and this being my first lead role in a show, says in a ‘pinch me’ kind of grateful way,” Hoosier adds. “This is probably going to sound cliché, but I feel like all my cast mates are gifts to this particular stage. With such a small ensemble cast every single person is invaluable and the show just couldn’t be the same without them.”
Cass Gatan, who plays Linus Van Pelt in the production, says, “I think the most important thing about Charlie Brown is the fact that it talks about things that we as adults are still so scared to talk about. There aren’t a lot of shows that want to talk about depression, not feeling good enough and relationships how Charlie Brown does because it’s hard to make those things entertaining, let alone funny.”
Brown discusses genuine, real-life issues through the innocent eyes of a child, and that’s what makes it compelling and funny. In society, the mental health discussion is one that is constantly circulating. “As someone who has struggled with mental health issues, the show presents these topics in a way that makes you feel things,” notes Gatan. “There’s a scene where Charlie Brown and Lucy are talking about how Charlie is really upset because no one likes him, and Lucy agrees with him. But she reminds him that at the end of the day, he’s the only Charlie Brown in the world and that’s enough.”
Funny, cute and a real message in this day of the world attempting to understand and not condemn mental health issues—the production reminds us that it’s okay not to be okay. Happiness is how the play ends, in fact, with a loud, cheerful finale.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov 16 – Saturday, Nov 17;
4 p.m. Sunday, Nov 17;
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov 21 – Saturday, Nov 23
Saint Martin’s University,
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA, Krelsheimer Building
$10 general admission ($5 SMU students, staff and faculty)