CHS Spring Play 'A Simpler Time' kept you entertained

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Do you ever wish you could get out of the chaos and go back in time to the “good old days?” A time when things seemed simpler or at least that’s what you’d like to remember. Crookston High School’s spring play “A Simpler Time” is a comical series of travelers who go back in time in search of a life that was simpler. What they find out in each event isn’t quite what they expected, but the message remains - life isn’t (and wasn’t) always greener on the other side. Or in another century.

    The journey begins with three middle/high schoolers living in what seemed like present (pandemic) times with a feeling of uncertainty for the future. During some down time, or what could be perceived as a quarantine, one of the students developed a low-key time machine and asked where the others wanted to go. She warned them that they couldn’t change anything wherever they went. One character suggested they go find a place in time when it (life) was “simpler.”  

    The girls’ first stop in the time machine was the medieval times where they happened upon an arranged marriage. The father was upset that his daughter didn’t like the match set up for her so that obviously (insert sarcasm) meant she was a witch. He brought in a doctor (dressed to the nines with a plague doctor mask and clothing intended to protect them from airborne diseases during outbreaks in Europe) who had plenty of “cure” options for his daughter including ingesting mercury, draining the blood from her body with leeches or perhaps drilling a hold in her head to “release the spirit.” Through trying to explain that she was not, in fact, a witch and that she did not need a “cure”, once the daughter found out her betrothed wealthy Lord was scheduled for a blood-draining leech treatment she was “magically” cured and agreed to the arranged marriage as she hinted she’d become a wealthy widow soon.

    The next trip led the travelers to the evening before the Constitution was due and the founding fathers were attempting to come up with, and somehow agree on, the language in the document. Maybe it was the pressure or maybe it was the testosterone in the room, but they could not seem to stop arguing. The founding fathers’ wives were also involved and seemed to come up with far superior language for the document, plus the timeliness of their jokes couldn’t have rang more true. Funny enough, the gentlemen took their wives’ suggestions as their own and conveniently forgot to allow women the right to vote.

    Onto the next scene where three women are workers in a shoelace factory. They’re tired, exhausted, worked to the bone, all of the above. One of them has a brother that works for Henry Ford and talks about starting on Monday and ending work on Friday, and then having a break at the “week’s end.” The workers seem to like the idea of working for only eight hours a day and not falling asleep at work. They bring it up to their boss, they try to woo him, they try to reason with him, they even try to go on strike. Nothing seems to work. Finally, one of the workers, who keeps losing her shoe, pleads that she just wants enough time to get off work to buy her own shoelace so she’d stop losing her shoe. That’s when the boss man realizes “his idea” for the “week end” which would give her more time to buy shoelaces that, in turn, increases his profit.

    Now, the girls are back in the time machine and have seen what’s happened in each of the eras they’ve visited yet they’re still in search of that valuable lesson. But, after pressing random buttons, something may have gone wrong. That’s when they end up in the future in a “non denominational post life paradise.” On the outside it looks like the perfect family is in a scene from nature, but once you look closer you see that their surroundings are fake. A simulation, if you will. The son in the family is starting to ask questions, act suspicious and voice his feelings that it’s all fake. That’s when a woman in a jumpsuit appears and has to take the son away for violating “protocol” as he’ll have to be “re-educated” per the agreement. “Isn’t life great? It really is.”

    Finally, the travelers are back from the past and back from the future, and wonder “What are we supposed to do? Just live in the present?” Sure. Give it a whirl.

    The last scene is a roundabout of sorts with a present-day character “blitzing a game play on Twitch” as her dad gets their stuff ready to go hiking. Her dad mentions that he knows video games to which she explains that she’s not playing the game but watching someone play a game. He, in a sense, flips out saying it’s a waste of time and takes her phone away “for her own good.” Next, we go back to when he was a kid playing a video game and his dad is getting their stuff ready to go hiking. He tells his dad he doesn’t want to go hiking and the dad says he’s not going to let his son rot his brain. His dad brings up someone he once knew that “spent all day at the penny arcade wasting her time” and told his son to go to his room and “stop being weird” while mentioning that he was “young once too, you know.” Then it flashes back to when he was a child reading a magazine about actor James Dean and how his mom was getting their things ready to go hiking. She thought the printing press was “putting the devil’s thoughts in his head” and talked about “change being vital” but wanted to keep things the same. The last part of this scene shows a girl playing a virtual reality game as her mom walks in announcing she’s getting their things ready for a hike. When the girl says she doesn’t want to go on a hike, the mother, in a turn of events, says they don’t have to and asks if she could instead play a game with her. She tries it out and was glad they could do something together.

    The traveling girls are now finished with the time machine and have come to realize there is no simpler time than the present. Circumstances change. And they didn’t even get a snack in any of the centuries they visited.

    Final Notes: This production was dedicated to the five seniors for the Class of 2020 who never got to have their last show plus highlights this year’s seniors, Linnea French, Victoria Proulx, and Sophia Rezac, who included their bios in the program. These young ladies will be greatly missed on the stage and in the sound booth as their skills are second to none. And, once again, I’m not sure if it’s the talent of the actors, the intelligence of the directors, the perfect play script or a combination of all three, but every performance that I see at the high school seems to outdo the last one. This play in particular had the perfect amount of comedy and present-day references to keep someone entertained the entire two hours in their seats. Well done, CHS, and keep it up. I look forward to the next one.

Dr Cornwallis (Georgie French) Talks Cures To Adelaide (Victoria Proulx) And Winifred (Linnea French)