Jerry Walker grew up in Standish where there was little encouragement to become a publishedplaywright and theater director. But that did not deter Walker from achieving those goals. Today, his is a well-known face among local theater circles and he has become a highly respected playwright and director throughout Maine. On Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3, Walker will present “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep,” one of his favorite and recently published creations at the Schoolhouse Arts Center.
“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” is a one act play exploring rural American high school life, as seen through the eyes of Julie, a young student. The play lives through its memorable and realistic teenage characters. Julie’s struggle to get through life day-to-day, with a detached alcoholic mom and absent dad, is brightened by her exuberant, hopeful best friend, Lexie.
Scene by scene with gentle humor, the characters remind the audience of the feelings of having that first boyfriend, not getting picked for the team, being fat, being the smart student, being the boy who is good at ballet, getting suspended from school, being too short to attract girls and not fitting in with any of the cliques. The play reminds us that high school is often referred to as “the best four years of our lives.” It often is; but that four-year trek is also dangerous and confusing.
|The acting crew taking a moment from rehearsal|
It brings to the stage all of the things that young people need to know, want to ask, get stressed-out and complain about. Those seeing the play, will be reminded of the familiar feelings of teen angst and adolescence, many moments of pleasant memory, deep identity issues, shocking surprise and utter devastation as their onstage ‘child’ reaches out for comfort, help, direction and approval; wanting to belong to something or someone.
The scenes and monologues in this on-target theatrical performance will have you laughing one second and crying the next. The play is about teens and how each action or word spoken by anyone has either a positive or negative effect on someone else, even oneself. We come to find that no word or deed is harmless or without consequence. Adults and youth alike will see themselves in the halls of this imaginary school, in the lives of its students, and in their hopes and shattered dreams. “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” is a memorable and timeless play which is more relevant than ever in our current age of bullying, school gun violence and increasing teen depression.
Walker went to school in the very building where he will be presenting his play. He originally wrote “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” in 1997. It was presented for the first time at the Northern Maine One Act Play Festival in 199 and went on to compete at the Maine State One Act Festival. It repeated this fete at state-wide competition again in 2007.
The play has been performed numerous times throughout Maine, including Biddeford City Theater, UNE Theater Ensemble, Western Maine One Act Festival, Eastern Maine One Act Festival and many high schools throughout the state. This June’s performance of “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” will be debuting as a newly published play in 2018, through special arrangement with Leicester Bay Theatricals of Newport Maine (leicesterbaytheatricals.com).
Schoolhouse Arts Center is a non-profit, community-driven organization dedicated to arts education and the presentation of the arts.