Blacktip Island Community Players cast members act out a grammar lesson between boxing rounds Thursday evening’s dress rehearsal of ‘Schoolhouse Rocky,’ combining elements of ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ and the ‘Rocky’ movie. (photo courtesy of Otterbein University Theater & Dance)
The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform ‘Schoolhouse Rocky,’ a mashup of Schoolhouse Rock and the Rocky boxing movie, Saturday and Sunday evenings at the Caribbean island’s Heritage House, BICP members said.
“We wanted to push the boundaries and do something unexpected, something no one’s done before,” said Doris Blenny, BICP director. “People are tired of all the ‘My Fair Lady’s and never-ending ‘Cats’ knock offs. We opted for educational fisticuffs.
“With Schoolhouse Rocky, we’ve combined favorite songs and characters from the Schoolhouse Rock public service announcements of the ‘70s with highlights from the Sylvester Stallone boxing classic,” Blenny said. “Most people have an antagonistic relationship with grammar and multiplication tables, so it’s really quite fitting when you think about it. For a few seconds.”
Actors say the combination allows them to test their creative limits.
“Anyone can sing about conjunctions, and act out a fight scene,” cast member Marina DeLow said. “But try being convincing as Bill the bill, fighting your way up Capitol Hill against Apollo Creed. That takes a special talent.
“And nothing stretches a vocalist’s ability like singing the ‘’Naughty Number Nine’ multiplication song while taking a punch to the gut and counter punching,” DeLow said. “And frankly, it’s contagious. Half the island’s running around humming the tunes ever since we started rehearsals. And fighting in the bars. With and without gloves.”
Island parents praised the play’s educational merit.
“The kiddos can learn math and grammar, and the fighting keeps them from getting bored,” Ginger Bass said. “It hearkens back to Aristotle’s ‘art should instruct and delight.’ And the little ones’ll never mess up their adjectives once they’ve heard the Adjective Song performed by two sweaty boxers. Bad grammar gets walloped every time.
“It also teaches the youngsters how to throw a nasty left hook,” Bass said. “Bullies won’t stand a chance, in or out of the classroom.”
Cast members include:
- Marina DeLow as Bill the bill / My Hero Zero / Rocky Balboa
- Payne Hanover as Conjunction Junction / Little Twelvetoes / Apollo Creed
- Alison Diesel as Mr. Morton / Lucky Seven Sampson / Adrian
- Gage Hoase as Paul Revere / all three Lollys
- Jessie Catahoula as Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla / Interplanet Janet
- Lee Helm as Interjections / The Hairy, Scary Bear
“We were kind of skeptical at first about how, or if, the mashup would work,” Payne Hanover said. “We figured it’d appeal just to an older crowd, but people of all ages have been stopping by to watch us rehearse. And singing along—even little kids know the words.
“Plus, everyone has a blast seeing Lee Helm get the snot beat out of him, even if it’s an act,” Hanover said. “We do make sure we land at least one solid shot amid all the stage-punches. The audience loves it. Lee’s got it coming and he knows it.”