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Equinox Theatre shows everything old is new again

Veteran performers bring Peanuts gang to the stage in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
Male cast of Charlie Brown
Schroeder, Charlie Brown and Linus coming to the stage

OUTLOOK - They are getting set to play young children on stage but these performers are preparing to bring their decades of experience to the stage and show the joy of being young-at-heart once again.

The beloved Peanuts Gang first appeared in comic strips by Charles M. Schultz that ran over a 50-year span. The Peanuts strip had a readership of 355 million in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Successful television specials further established the characters as pop culture mainstays, followed by an adaptation for the live stage

The Peanuts characters are a group of young children who deal with life situations most can relate to: does that girl like me?, why does school have homework?, and will my team ever win the big game?

Bringing these characters from the printed page and on to the stage is a group of performers who have been involved with Equinox Theatre for many years including Floyd Childerhose, Kirk Friggstad and Phil Guebert.

Floyd enjoys the camaraderie he experiences with other actors when he takes part in a production. “For me, it’s just a wonderful and different venue from what normal life brings,” he said, “and it’s just so much fun.” Some of his favorite shows include Saskatoon Pie, The Sound of Music, and Dry Streak. “I enjoyed them all but I have to say playing Basil in Fawlty Towers was at the top of that list.”

In You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Floyd plays Schroder. “He’s kind of an educated guy who loves the piano,” Floyd explained. “Everything about him revolves around the piano and music. He like things to be upbeat and in tune!”

He is looking forward to presenting this show and says, “I think the audience will find neat snippets as if they were looking at a comic book of different stories that are presented all the way through. So rather than one story from beginning to end it’s a whole bunch of little clips of Charlie Brown."

Kirk Friggstad has been cast as the title character, the lovable Charlie Brown. He says he can certainly see himself in the character he has taken on. “One of the producers of the Charlie Brown TV specials says that everybody has been Charlie Brown at one point or another in their life. I kind of feel like it has been more than one point in my life, kind of ongoing,” Kirk said with a smile. “I just feel a kinship to Charlie Brown because nothing ever seems to go right for him and yet somehow he manages to pick himself up and keep going. I wish I had that sort of resiliency and optimism sometimes.”

Kirk has had many memorable roles in Equinox Theatre productions including playing the bad guy in Hilda’s Yard, being in drag in Mom’s Gift and getting a pie in the face in Fawlty Towers. Another favorite was All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  He explained, “The different roles in that was fun, just the overall spirit of the play. I would do that one again in a heartbeat.”

He says this production has a lot to offer the audience. “This show has great music. There’s a lot of good humor and it’s got a bit of a philosophical bent. It’s just a good mix; funny, good music, and heartwarming. People should go away feeling good about the world, feeling happy and appreciating happiness.”

Phil Guebert has enjoyed the wide variety of productions Equinox Theatre has done over the years. “I’ve always liked the Disney ones, so shows like Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. Those were lots of fun because there was lots of music and I like that.” He also enjoyed ones set in this part of the world. “We did a number of Saskatchewan plays and they were lots of fun for various reasons. A lot of people could identify with the types of situations in those stories.” He also had a great time playing Manuel in Fawlty Towers.

In this show Phil plays Linus. “He is somewhat philosophical for a 5-year-old and he shares some really good thoughts. He enjoys carrying his blanket around. It’s his security.”

He feels this show will delight the audience. “Lots of people that grew up with the Peanuts strips in the newspaper or watching the TV shows will just enjoy the characters. Seeing them again they can just relive those kinds of memories.”

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown will run Friday May 27 at 7:30 pm, Saturday May 28 at 7:30 pm and Sunday May 29 at 2:30 pm at the Outlook Civic Centre. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at Outlook Printers.