Betty Botter's batter really isn't all that bitter. And thanks to a chance at sweet redemption, neither are the members of the Bitter Batter School staff.
Except, of course, for Mr. Hygiene.
Humboldt elementary school students were fit to be tongue-tied March 15 after taking in St. Dominic School's annual play, "Tongue Twisted." The Grade 7 and 8 students of St. Dominic put on two performances. There was an afternoon show for their own school, and for kids from other schools in town, plus an evening "dessert theatre" performance for parents and family.
Organizer and St. Dominic educational assistant (EA) Cheryl Blechinger noted that the Grade 7 and 8 students put on a play every year. As last year's show was a musical, they decided to try something different this time around.
"We looked at a few options, but we decided to go with something about tongue twisters because we thought it would be a fun challenge to do."
Auditions for "Tongue Twisted" got underway not long after Christmas, but Blechinger said rehearsals didn't really get going in earnest until last month.
Directing the students this year were Blechinger, Celeste LeRay-Leicht, Michelle Steier, Roseanne Thiel, and Shawna Swenson.
"Tongue Twisted" was written by Cynthia Davies and Steven Fendrich, and starred Tyson Greff as teacher Moses Roses, Julie Syroteuk as principal Sally Seashell, Brianna Thibault as Sally's simple secretary Dora Dimbulb, and Paul Elias as Mr Hygiene, the jealous janitor with a secret identity. All work at the Bitter Batter School.
Dawson Keller played the role of Wink Hughbett, the charismatic host of the annual Tongue Twister Tournament, as well as MC for the overall performance.
Appropriate given the topic, the play features a plot with plenty of twists.
Mr. Roses and Ms. Seashell were once students at Bitter Batter, and they have a heated history between them, having represented the school 30 years ago at the Tongue Twister Tournament. But Roses got tongue-tied at that fateful fair, botching Bitter Batter's best chance at winning the tongue twisting title.
As his former teammate - and now his boss, Sally Seashell has never quite forgiven Moses for missing his mark with such mumbled machinations.
Fast-forward 30 years, and Moses is now in charge of picking Bitter Batter's new batch of bright but bumbling tongue twister contestants. Indeed, Moses keeps picking poor performers on purpose, in order to make his own feelings of failure fade.
But Sally Seashell certainly shan't let memories of Moses' muffled mumblings mosey off into the sunset, and she won't rest until Bitter Batter betters Nettie's Knitting Night School at this year's championship.
Things come to a heated head, and the tournament turned topsy turvy, when Mr. Hygiene's hijinks lead to scandal, and startling revelations about the past emerge.
Most importantly, Moses Roses rightly receives a chance at redemption. This time, his prolific pronunciations provide Bitter Batter with the vaunted tongue twisting trophy that Seashell and Hygiene had both so selfishly sought.
The play ends in a hoedown of sorts, as the now-confident Moses convinces Sally that if he can overcome his grumbled, bumbled mumblings of days gone by, she surely can set aside her sense of inadequacy on the dance floor. The celebration dance even had some of the younger kids in the audience jumping in the aisles.
Both shows of "Tongue Twisted" began with an entertaining warm-up, in which audience members were called on by Keller/Wink Hughbett to try out various classic tongue twisters. Blechinger said dads in the audience were particularly bad in their attempts.
Overall, she noted that the play was a huge success, with both performances going off without any significant hitches.
"It was really good," she said. "The kids really got involved in the whole process, and they seemed to enjoy it.
"I think everybody had a lot of fun."