Sure it has fence painting, dead cats and giggling first kisses, but thereâ€™s more to â€œThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerâ€ than that.
â€œItâ€™s a childrenâ€™s play to an extent, but itâ€™s bigger than a childrenâ€™s play,â€ said Bucky Reynolds, who plays Huckleberry Finn.
The Lincoln Theatre Guildâ€™s production of â€œThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerâ€ will run this week only. The show will start at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.
The play has all the elements one expects from the classic story â€“ Tom is mischievous, but good hearted, Aunty Polly is a loving disciplinarian, Becky pouts and Huckleberry Finn is a boy with adventure on his mind.
â€œIt speaks of a time much more simple and uncomplicated,â€ said Peggy Boring, the playâ€™s director. â€œPeople want to see that, and they miss some of the other levels in the stories.â€
Those other levels include neglect, hypocrisy and racism. Huckleberry Finn, while a happy-go-lucky boy, is also homeless. Despite the townâ€™s Christian values, many residents donâ€™t want anything to do with the boy. Town members have also persecuted Injun Joe because he is a â€œhalf breed.â€
â€œInjun Joe is played as a product of his environment,â€ said Boring. â€œ(The townspeople) had given him no opportunities to better himself and be a better citizen.â€
The play takes a dark turn when the boys witness Injun Joe commit a murder in the cemetery.
â€œWeâ€™re just simple boys running around, stealing and playing with dead cats,â€ said Billy Daniel, who plays Tom Sawyer. â€œWe see a murder. After that everything changes.â€
Despite some serious subject matter, the play generally stays lighthearted. Part of the reason for this is the likable main character.
â€œHe is so good at everything. He is shy, manipulative, misbehaved and sweet,â€ said Daniel. â€œHe can get anything he wants, and people still love him. He still has his innocence.â€
One character who has taken a particular shine to Tom is Becky.
â€œSheâ€™s very interested in boys, and sheâ€™s at that age where boys donâ€™t have cooties anymore,â€ said Lauren Fortkort who plays Becky.
Tom also has his legion of boy followers, one of whom is being played by Karin Okonski. This is her first gender-bending role.
â€œSeeing as how I live in a house of all females, it was very challenging,â€ she said.
She sought advice from boys in the play, but didnâ€™t come away with anything she could use.
â€œThey just told me that guys act stupid, which wasnâ€™t very helpful,â€ she said.
Boys being boys is part of what makes the play have universal appeal.
â€œI think itâ€™s a good story. Itâ€™s about children and olden times,â€ said Kirk Herbertson, who plays Joeâ€™s father. â€œItâ€™s fun.â€
â€œThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerâ€ will run March 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and March 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For more information call (704) 735-ACT1.
by Sarah Grano