MISSOULA — If there are two things we've had in abundance the past 18 months it's loneliness and insecurity.
But the Missoula Community Theater's revival of a classic musical shows us how channeling our inner Charlie Brown could be just what the doctor ordered — even if the price has gone up from 5¢.
Watching the classic 1967 Clark Gesner musical "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" through "pandemic pupils" is pretty enlightening.
"Waking up and wondering if anyone would really miss me if I never got out of bed," Charlie ponders in one of the opening scenes. "And then there's the night too. Lying awake and thinking about all the stupid things I've done during the day. And all those hours in between when I do those stupid things."
Draylen Askvig jokes he might be typecast in the lead role.
"He's at war with his own self all the time and kind of feels like everybody else always has this opinion of him too when it might not be the most accurate but he projects it upon himself too. So it's trying to create that back and forth all the time."
Charlie admits his secret to Lucy in another scene.
"I'd like to be so good at everything that all around school they'd call me Flash."
"Frieda! Listen to this!" says Lucy rushing away.
"Yeah, he's such a relatable character and I think all of us if we're honest this mental dialog or we doubt ourselves and we're like 'can't do this! No I can do this!'" Askvig tells me before the show. "I think the thing that's inspiring about Charlie Brown is just that he's an optimist."
Well, unless you ask Lucy.
"I remember watching the character of Lucy when I was l little and I always thought, she's just so mean," Rachel Shull says of the lead role. "Why do they ever hang out with her? But as you do the role and get to know her a little better you realize she's not so much mean. She just understands what she wants. She understands how to get it. Which is something I very much admire about her!
Yet, even under that tough exterior, and those saddle shoes, Lucy protects those she loves and is dealing with a little insecurity herself.
"Isn't everybody?" Shull laughs. "Yeah, we all have our insecurities and we just deal with them in different ways and Lucy makes sure to make up for those!"
Written in the "four-panel" style of a comic strip, "Good Man" is really a series of scenes and relatable one-liners. I mean we've all had days where we wanted to pull a blanket over our head these past two years? But beneath all of Charles Schulz's angst, from the little red-haired girl to Linus' blanket, is the joy of navigating challenges with true friends.
Shull says that's one of the real lessons of the show, "unity, solidarity and keeping together is always something to learn. And keep your friends close, keep your family and understand what you want and go for it."
We asked her whether she'd ever let Charlie Brown kick the football. "No. Never."
The show plays the next two weekends at MCT. Click here for additional information and to purchase tickets.