Schoolteacher Had Great Idea

Teacher and others presented a community play at one-room schoolhouse.


| Good Old Days


It was the year 1925-26 that I was the only girl in the 8th grade in our school, District 52, Brantford Township, Washington County Kansas. Our teacher, a local young lady, well-known and respected in the area, together with other young people came onto the idea of presenting a community play. Several plays were reviewed and finally a 3-act play, "The Deacon's Honeymoon" was chosen. It would be put on right there in our schoolhouse.

All interested participants met to discuss the play and decide on parts. My older sister, also a teacher in a neighboring school, was to be one of the participants, and of course my curiosity was beyond bounds as to which part she would play. The part of "deacon" was to be played by a prominent unmarried farmer and stockman. Several other prominent young farmers or farm hands also had parts. Some were to be paired off romantically, my sister was one of those, which I found interesting. Our teacher, because of her shorter stature, was designated to be a servant girl, handy whenever errands of a sudden nature needed tending to. All in all about a dozen various actors took part.

Practices were held regularly at the schoolhouse, rides were pooled, others walked to practices across the fields.

Curtains were borrowed from a larger school, for other programs we had used sheets; a hallway ran most of the way along the east side of the schoolhouse, this was curtained-off the very day of the performance into two dressing rooms, one for ladies, one for men. Windows of this were rubbed over on the inside with Bon-Ami for privacy. People were barred from entering through the hallway so another entryway had to be provided. The southwest window of the main schoolroom was removed and ramps, like a stile, were built up and over where the window had been taken out. A heavy canvas was hung as a curtain to keep out the cold and yet allow entry. Everyone who came somehow managed this way of entry. The big stove that ordinarily stood in the middle of the schoolroom was moved to the back of the room with pipes reset so it could be used. Gas lamps and lanterns provided lights. Gas lanterns served as footlights. These were set on several uniformly-sawed measures of a large log. Galvanized tin was securely fastened to each log around the back sides of each lantern, thus directing the lighting onto the stage which had been constructed of bridge planks laid across sturdy sawhorses.

In readiness for the play, excessive use was made of "make-up" and even burnt cork. Some of the ladies borrowed wigs of anyone, even of a slight acquaintance, that had a wig.

An enormous crowd gathered on this perfect evening in March with no wind, no sleet, no snow. Extra seating had been provided by way of planks set on sturdy bases. The play went off "without a hitch," everyone playing their part well, to the enjoyment of all who came.





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