Highland View Academy seniors are bringing the 1960s television family with a cement pond and a Granny who loves opossum stew, hunting and hootenannies to their school stage this weekend.
The school will present "Beverly Hillbillies" at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16, in the school gymnasium.
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First, though, some of them had to figure out who "The Beverly Hillbillies" even were.
"We've got lots of students who hadn't seen the show," said Julie Recker, registrar at the private high school in Hagerstown. "It's probably one of my favorite television shows ever."
The show's theme song — which can be found on YouTube for those who missed the television reruns — gives a catchy summary about "a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer, (who) barely kept his family fed."
The family starts out in the hills with very little except their love for one another, a cabin, and survival skills, but when oil is struck on their property, Jed, Granny, Elly May and Jethro Clampett decide to go live the good life in Beverly Hills, Calif.
That's when the comedy begins.
Senior Ruth Jocelyn, who plays Mrs. Drysdale in the stage production, notices that "classy" behavior doesn't automatically follow the hillbillies' wealth. Mrs. Drysdale, who wants to be viewed as a classy woman, is particularly frustrated with her husband's willingness to do anything to earn a buck without regard to class. That includes letting the hillbillies next door keep their money in his bank.
"She is very overdramatic — a little bit of a brat who likes bossing her husband around," Jocelyn said, describing her character. "I am so upset because I have these people from who knows where coming and living next to me."
Ruth, 17, of Haiti, said she is having a great time emphasizing her character's bratty behavior on the stage.
Mark Gindi, 18, of Egypt, is Jocelyn's husband, Mr. Drysdale, in the play. For Mark, working on the play is a way of making great senior year memories.
"Rehearsals are extremely fun. Messing up, you learn from your mistakes. The lines stick in your head more. Everyone gets a good laugh from it," Mark said. "It's like one big family putting on a skit."
Besides familiar faces like Jethro and Granny, the audience might see a few unfamiliar characters as well. Sydney Tooley, 20, a sophomore at Hagerstown Community College and former Highland View Academy student, is directing the play. Tooley said a few of the characters are ones she didn't recognize from the show.
The main characters will be played much like they were on television, she said, but the new characters offered some freedom for the student actors.
"They're hysterical," Tooley said of the characters.
Students said they are proud of the sets and costumes that they are putting together. In addition, juniors will be serving up a 'heapin' helpin' of hospitality with concession foods based on the hillbillies theme.
Besides giving the audience a night of laughs, the admission cost and a silent auction that evening will also go toward a good cause.
The event is a fundraiser for their senior missions trip to a camp near Gainesville, Fla., in April, where they will help with renovation and repair projects. According to its website, Camp Kulaqua is part of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Camp and Retreat Ministries, with a goal of providing a Christian camping atmosphere in which people of all ages, races and Christian denominations can enjoy recreation, fun, and fellowship.
In the past, Highland View students have provided outreach in places such as North Carolina and Honduras.
Brenda Fornos, the senior play marketing volunteer, said the class of 28 seniors has come up with a great, family-friendly evening.
"It's a good script. It's sure to make everybody laugh," Fornos said. "They are having a lot of fun with it."
If you go ...
What: "The Beverly Hillbillies" play and silent auction
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16
Where: Highland View Academy, 10100 Academy Drive, Hagerstown; in the gymnasium
Cost: $12 adults; $7 for ages 4 to 12 and free to those 3 and younger; proceeds go toward a missions trip