Flint Hill’s spring play pays tribute to a timeless story


Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Carlo Grossman

The spring cast poses for a picture.

 The curtains were drawn, the lights were dimmed, and a quiet murmur was heard in the audience.

For the cast of Flint Hill Upper School’s upcoming spring play, these heart-pounding sensations will soon become a reality on May 3, opening night at the Olson Theater. With a younger cast than in previous years, Sarah, Plain and Tall, is certain to provide a lighthearted, yet heartwarming story for the audience.

“The story, the dialogue, and the characters all work well together to express real human feelings and values,” said Upper School director of drama productions, Carlo Grossman. “Nine of the thirteen actors in the cast are making their Upper School debut. They are working hard and learning what it’s like to be involved in our rehearsals [and plays].”

 Originally a picture book by Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall represents a blending of styles and elements of other classic stories.

 Sophomore Hailey Scherer, who portrays Meg Wheaton, Sarah’s sister-in-law, said, “The way Mr. Grossman explained it to us on day one– that the play is basically “Little House on the Prairie” meets the Von Trapp family– was really accurate. It’s set in the early 1900s, and it’s really quite charming.”

The play centers on a Kansas family, including a father named Jacob Witting and his two children. Since his wife had passed away, Witting decides to put an advertisement in the newspaper for a potential new bride.

Enter Sarah Wheaton, a headstrong character who is still somewhat modest in describing her physical features, hence the title of the play.  She nevertheless responds to the posting and decides to travel from Maine to Kansas to meet her prospective family. The remainder of the play is spent deciding whether or not to grow together as a family or continue going their separate ways.

Freshman Cecily Wolfe, who portrays the title character, quickly learned that working on a production would be extremely demanding. However, she believes the reward far outweighs the costs.

“We work hard but it’s still really fun to be there,” said Wolfe. “At first, you’re nervous, but then you get [used to it] and it’s great.”

Aiming to please the audience’s various interests, the production offers a sampling of each genre and combines such elements in a unique storyline. From the comedic and witty lines, to the sentimental conclusion of the family’s story, Grossman and his actors strive to offer a pleasing show for each theatergoer.

“As sweet as the story is, there is a lot humor in the play which makes us feel more connected to the characters,” said Grossman. “It’s a very good group and they are having fun and working well together.”

However, the relationship between Sarah and her adopted family is not always simple, a testament to the initial strains of a blended family. Only through compromise and acceptance of each other can the characters recognize their bond and everlasting love for one another.

Freshman Sonia Schmidt, who stars as adult Anna, appreciates the connection between all of the actors and each of their talents.

“We have a good cast this year and we get along well,” said Schmidt. “There are a lot of funny moments in the [play and in rehearsal].”

For an audience that is seeking a genuine story of finding one’s place in the world, the cast intends to deliver on a wonderfully humble play that promises to be anything but plain.