Each year, the Middle School kicks off the SPA theatrical calendar with its fall play. This year, the talented cast of Grade 6-8 students have something special in store: The world premiere of Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle.
Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle is a story about a young girl named Debbie Fine who struggles to find her place in the world. The kids at school make fun of her, her brother thinks she’s annoying, and her parents are always busy at work. It is not until Debbie discovers she can fly on her white, thunderstrike bicycle that she learns to trust herself, her instinct, and her power to make a difference.
Andy Hueller is the author of Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle, as well as the chair of the SPA English Department and a phenomenal Middle and Upper School English teacher. He published his novel in 2010 but did not consider adapting it until years later when a colleague pushed him to explore bringing Debbie Fine to the stage.
“The idea to adapt the story to a play resided at the back of my brain for years, occasionally wading to the front,” says Hueller. “It wasn't until the summer of 2014 that I began to see how it might work!”
It took Hueller several years of thinking and several months of writing to adapt the story for the stage. The challenge, of course, was condensing all the action to a few settings, creating a cohesive cast of characters, and figuring out how to make the fantasy elements of Debbie Fine’s world come to life. To do so, he worked closely with Mary Kay Orman, Middle School Theater Director, who helped tighten up the script with helpful questions and her wealth of theatrical knowledge.
Over 40 students have been involved in the production of Dizzy Fantastic. In addition to the actors, Middle and Upper School students have been helping behind the scenes, working with the artistic and AV staff on lighting, set building, props, and make-up. They have also been mastering the art of puppeteering, a special effect that will be used to propel Debbie Fine into the Huss Center “skies.” Puppeteer David Hanzal created the shadow puppets for the SPA production and has since spent numerous hours training students on how to manipulate them.
“We are so lucky and honored to be producing Andy's play,” says Orman. “The message the students are taking from this play is that we can all make a difference in the world by unlocking the superhero within us. If we can bring that lesson to life in our production, we will be doing right by Andy and Dizzy Fantastic!”
Please join us this weekend for the World Premiere of Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle by our very own Andy Hueller! Productions will take place Friday, October 23 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 24 at 4 p.m. in the Huss Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free.