“Bat Boy” highlights current socio-political issues, bids goodbye to Blackbox

Junior+Shira+Goldstein%2C+who+plays+Bat+Boy%2C+sits+on+the+shoulders+of+Willa+Frierson+%E2%80%9820+and+Omari+Benjamin+%E2%80%9818+during+a+rehearsal.+The+original+musical+was+inspired+by+tabloid+headlines+published+in+1992+in+The+Weekly+World+News+documenting+a+half-man+and+half-bat+creature.+
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“Bat Boy” highlights current socio-political issues, bids goodbye to Blackbox

Junior Shira Goldstein, who plays Bat Boy, sits on the shoulders of Willa Frierson ‘20 and Omari Benjamin ‘18 during a rehearsal. The original musical was inspired by tabloid headlines published in 1992 in The Weekly World News documenting a half-man and half-bat creature.

Junior Shira Goldstein, who plays Bat Boy, sits on the shoulders of Willa Frierson ‘20 and Omari Benjamin ‘18 during a rehearsal. The original musical was inspired by tabloid headlines published in 1992 in The Weekly World News documenting a half-man and half-bat creature.

Photo credit: Noa Diamond

Junior Shira Goldstein, who plays Bat Boy, sits on the shoulders of Willa Frierson ‘20 and Omari Benjamin ‘18 during a rehearsal. The original musical was inspired by tabloid headlines published in 1992 in The Weekly World News documenting a half-man and half-bat creature.

Photo credit: Noa Diamond

Photo credit: Noa Diamond

Junior Shira Goldstein, who plays Bat Boy, sits on the shoulders of Willa Frierson ‘20 and Omari Benjamin ‘18 during a rehearsal. The original musical was inspired by tabloid headlines published in 1992 in The Weekly World News documenting a half-man and half-bat creature.

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In the deep, dark cave of Archer’s Blackbox, 22 student cast members prepare for the last upper school musical in the space, “Bat Boy: The Musical”.

“Bat Boy: The Musical”, or “Bat Boy” for short, is a musical about a half-bat, half-human boy, who is found in a cave by children and brought out into a small town. According to the cast, the musical provides commentary on social themes and the current political climate.

“In [“Bat Boy”], these kids find him in a cave and the kids are the ones that bring him out of the cave and into the world,” Visual and Performing Arts Chair Reed Farley, who directs the show, said. “It’s the world that turns on him and demonizes him. He stands for a metaphor as the other, or being different.”

Julianna Goldsmith ‘18 appears as Meredith Parker in the production. She has been in Archer shows for seven years, and this will be her last musical as a student.

“I think part of the reason why Mr. Farley chose this show was because of the ways that it does relate to the political climate today. [The country] is in such a crazy state right now, and I think people need to be seeing shows that speak to what’s going on in a different way — in a more creative and artistic way,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith’s character is Bat Boy’s mother. According to Goldsmith, her character is extremely caring and selfless and has to deal with a lot, which shapes her relationship with her family.

A poster advertising Archer’s production. This will be the final upper school musical in the Blackbox before construction commences. Illustration by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

“I’m really hoping [“Bat Boy”]  is going to make people reflect on their morals and overall what it means to be a good, caring, compassionate person and how having those qualities can make a huge difference in the world” Goldsmith said. “[I want them to learn] the importance of treating people fairly, with equality.”

Farley not only chose this musical due to its connection to modern themes, but said that it is also an ideal final musical for Archer to bid farewell to the Blackbox theater with.

“I like this show as being our last musical down there because it is about a boy found in a cave. It’s standing as a parallel or a metaphor for us being a theater troupe surviving in this sort of underground theater,” Farley said. “I think it works really well.”

Originally, the Archer community assumed last year’s upper school musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” to be the last upper school musical performed in the Blackbox. However, due to a shift in the construction schedule, “Bat Boy” gets the honor of being the last musical staged there.

“The whole show is very exciting,” Noa Diamond, an assistant director along with Gemma Brand-Wolf ‘18, said. “It’s a very unique show that we’re putting on. I think the audience will be surprised at a lot of things because I don’t think it is very predictable.”  

Both the directors and the cast are excited to see how that audience responds to Bat Boy’s fate.

“The ending is tragic; I don’t know how they are going to respond to it. I think it depends on how much they care for Bat Boy and how much they care about the characters in the story,” Farley said.  “Some of the characters are pretty difficult to like, I’m not going to lie, just like in today’s world. It’s really hard to identify with some characters and understand why they do what they do, but I think our girls are bringing a large amount of humanity to it. That makes the characters accessible, so it could be a tear jerker.”

Archer’s production of “Bat Boy: The Musical” makes its debut on Nov. 10 with additional performances on the following day.

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