First Baptist presents ‘A Tale’

Published 10:55 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

The students of First Baptist Christian High School are bringing one of the most popular pieces of English literature to the stage next week.

For their second annual theatre production, students will perform the “Tale of Two Cities” based on the book by Charles Dickens. The show will last two hours and be performed at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“It’s an awesome story, and the kids have been seriously working on it for the past few months,” director and English teacher Joe Cockrell said. “The show has a little bit of everything. It’s an exciting adventure set during the French Revolution with a love story tied in. Ultimately, the heart of the story is about love and self-sacrifice overcoming evil.”

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The play is the school’s second performed by its upper school students, and quite a leap from last year’s, Cockrell said.

“Last year, we did the musical ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ and had a cast of six,” Cockrell said. “‘Tale of Two Cities’ is a completely different change of pace, and this year we have between 25 and 30 cast members.”

The challenge of moving from a cast of six to 30 turned out fine, though.

“I think everyone saw how much fun everyone had last year and wanted to be a part of it,” Cockrell said. “There are kids walking up and down the hallways at school practicing their English and French accents for the upcoming play.”

During the first dress rehearsal on Thursday, Cockrell said, everything fell in to place.

“Everything in the play really builds on itself to lead to a dramatic ending,” he said. “Thursday night, at the end of practice, it went dead silent.”

Cockrell said the idea to perform the script came after reading the book with his junior and senior class.

“It gives the students a chance to really see what the play is about,” Cockrell said. “And as a Christian school, we’re always looking for a way to share the message. This isn’t explicit, but it demonstrates self-sacrificial love that woven through the fabric of the whole story. To me, that’s what makes this story great. It’s more than an action story. It’s a transformation story.”