TIFFIN— In the late 1960s a former New York City school teacher wrote a novel titled “Up the Down Staircase.” In it, she told the often humorous, sometimes dramatic, trials and tribulations of an enthusiastic, optimistic and idealistic new teacher in her first year in an under-staffed, over-crowded NYC school. The book, chronicling her battles with apathy, self-doubt and bureaucracy, became a best-seller and was turned into a movie and play.
On December 1, 2 and 3, the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Drama Department will present Christopher Sergel’s theatrical adaptation of Bel Kaufman’s novel.
Charlotte Small plays Sylvia Barrett, “a teacher in a school where not much learning has been going on,” as director Pete Huch describes her. “She’s trying to make a difference; she’s put into awkward situations.” Barrett is helped by veteran teacher Bea Schachter (played by Reily Barkhoff) and close friend Ellen (Alex Erlewine) as she copes with rebellious student Jo Ferone (Mia Kuehn) and love-struck Alice (Sarah Ritchie) to name but a few of the colorful characters filling her classroom to standing room only. Barrett also has to comprehend and comply with an ever more bizarre set of policies and procedures from the school’s administration.
“It has a little bit of everything,” Huch said. “There’s a love story, comedy and drama.” Huch likened the show to the movie “Dangerous Minds.” Although set in the same era as the original book, Huch says the message still resonates today. “Kids aren’t always willing to learn, but teachers are always trying to reach them.”
“It’s pro-teacher and pro-education,” Huch added.
The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.