Spring High School students Mikaila Heath, left, as Dog and Christopher Saenz as Wiley, perform in the children’s theater production of “Wiley and the Hairy Man”
HOUSTON – Jan. 19, 2018 – The show must go on, especially if it is Spring High School’s annual children’s theater production – a long-standing tradition at the school. After being delayed by Hurricane Harvey and then impacted by the recent icy weather, the Spring High School Lion Players Theatre Company opened “Wiley and the Hairy Man” on Thursday.
Additional public performances will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 22-24 in the Spring High School Performing Arts Center, 19428 I-45 North, Spring.
“Canceling was never in the cards,” said Spring High School Director of Theatre Marilyn Ocker. “Our district director of performing and visual arts, Joe Clark, made sure we knew this was important, and that we would make it happen. It means a lot, knowing that you have good people to support you.”
The play, which is appropriate for all ages, is set in the Tombigbee Swamp, which offers audiences a magical setting for the story of a fatherless young boy who – together with the help of his mother and his faithful dog – must face his own fears to overcome the Hairy Man who haunts his world.
“It’s an old Louisiana folk tale,” said Ocker, “and it’s got good lessons for audience members of all ages – to have faith in yourself, to develop self-confidence, and to do what’s necessary to overcome adversity. It’s a story about facing your fears, and I think everybody can find something to relate to in it.”
In addition to the public performances at Spring High School, students from the school will also be taking the production on the road and sharing it with elementary school students around the district in a series of daytime performances. In all, the production involves the talents of approximately 40 Spring High students, divided up into three separate casts who will perform the show on different days. By the time the show closes, “Wiley and the Hairy Man” will be performed for a total of 30 different audiences, many of them made up largely of younger students.
“The interaction with the children is the most exciting part,” Ocker said. “I wanted so passionately to take this to the elementary schools, because I knew how much of an impact it could have. It piques their interest and shows them what’s out there – storytelling traditions, folktales, the way these lessons and stories get passed on from generation to generation.”
Tickets for “Wiley and the Hairy Man” can be purchased either online through the Lion Players Theatre Company website or at the auditorium prior to each evening’s performance. Ticket cost is $8 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for children under 12.