Shermer Illinois -
After last years successfully production of “Karate Kid, The musical”, Shermer High students are again undertaking their own musical production. This years musical adaptation promises to be equally exciting as returning director Chad Nule will be overseeing the first ever musical performance of “Nell”.
“Nell” if you will recall is the heartwarming story of a young woman who has been living on her own in the wooded back country of North Carolina. Being on her own with a crazy old gran she developed her own language and is unable to speak common English. Even more so than just being southern.
We spoke with Chad during a rehearsal. In the background I could hear an actor practicing the number entitled “Inna tray inna we'and”
“Inna tray inna we'and,
Inna bleanda ga bleanda,
Chad, This is a dramatic story that poses difficulty's even for a seasoned professional actor or actress. What can we expect from these kids.
Well, I chose the story specifically for these kids. We've got some bright young talent in the system here but unfortunately its on the football field and not on the stage. With that in mind I chose a lead character that couldn't speak English and sub characters that try to learn her non English gibberish. Most of these kids hardly speak English as it is.”
How does that help?
“Well, honestly the audience isn't going to notice missed lines or flubs if the words are not intelligible to start with. We don't have any talented singers anyway so it really sounds more natural to hear Nell not be in tune or have proper pitch. Come on, she's an oddity, a freak, thats what the story is about. I think that the audience of Shermer will relate to the story because Nell is alone. She's in a godforsaken hole just like this town.
I've seen the film version of Nell and actress Jodie Foster was in many nude scenes that were integral to the the story line. How have you found ways around that?
“Yeah, well, that was hard. The first thing we tried was to have an actress play the part who was over 18 but that still ruffled some feathers. Finally we decided that since Jodie had the build of a boy we'd have a boy play the part. It's working out just great.”
So “Nell” is now a boy?
“Well, Nell is played by a boy but the character has remained a female. He wears a wig and a dress most of the time. Whatever, it works ya know?”
How was the publics reaction to this?
“I don't know, I didn't tell anyone yet. I know people won't like it thats for sure. I don't really care though you know? Last season when I told people we were going to do Karate Kid every body asked me, Why can't we just do 'Our Town'? I swear, every time people mentioned 'Our Town' I took one step closer to 'Crazy Town', You know what I mean? “Uh, oh geez....”
At this moment, Chad had to step away from the interview to work with the kids.
“Listen, take some liberties with the material but for goodness sake don't switch doobra dee with doobra gee, it makes you look like an amature, a stinking amature!
He returned and continued.
Though love from the director?
“Friggin idiot kids...”
Would you like to take a break?
No, I'm fine, just fine.”
Chad, with “Nell” not a traditional musical you must have had to come up with your own numbers and choreography.
“Yeah, the kids did that. I started writing the music but just got so sick of the kids whining and complaining. Pretty much what you'll find is the kids singing the lyrics to 50 cent and some Dashboard Confessional tunes. And yeah, its as bad as it sounds. But whatever, there happy I'm happy.
Any Ideas on what we can expect next year?
Yeah actually I'm working on a stage adaptation of 'Top Gun' I think the kids will enjoy. It's either that or a stage version of ABC's Lost.”
As we ended our interview, the practicing started again.
She can speak, “gunna ba golrdk”
She can speak, “gunna ba drludor”
She can speak, “gagala me nipora”
“Stop it, you moron, you idiot kid, its not nipora its noompora”
“I'm sorry I thought”
“You thought you'd what, make a fool of yourself ?”
“Do any of you even have a clue, huh?”
(smack) You shut your mouth..
Big productions in a small town. Thats the story here at Shermer High, Shermer, Illinois.