LAUGHLIN — The Laughlin High School drama class, under the tutelage of musical/theater director Beth Deurden, brought the story of “Soapy Smith’s Winter Wish” to the Laughlin High Theater stage earlier this month.
The story centers around the main character Soapy, who once was a “man about town“ attorney who lost all hope and faith in humanity through a series of misadventures, falling into poverty and despair. Through the story, he tells how he found his hope and belief in people again by epiphany, returning from his fall into homelessness and despair back to his rightful place in society as an kind-hearted attorney, which is where he started out as before his fall.
The play unfolds as the backstory of Soapy’s tale as told by the renewed Soapy to the very homeless, desperate people that he met along the way in his sunken state. He returns to them at Christmas, posing as a homeless man to secretly present them all with hope, wisdom and good cheer, telling them his story of redemption from an outside perspective as if telling someone else’s story, while making hobo stew for them as he unravels his tale of woe and redemption which in reality, they all were part of.
At the end of the play, he reveals himself as the main character in the story he had just espoused, and delivers to the people that were his salvation Christmas cheer in the form of money, learned wisdom and food.
Playing the main character Old Timer, (the real Soapy), was LHS drama student Joshua Liggons. Playing the falling Soapy in his earlier life predicament was Michael Sanchez. The people Soapy had met along the way were played by Kieri Smith as Tabby, Zoe Mars as the addle-minded Cross-Eye, Rachel Roberts as Mrs. Soames, Aileen Castro as Elsie, Lanera Johnson as Sandra, and Trinity Domme as a woman Soapy had wronged in his bad times and who forgave him to provide him with one of the lessons he learned while he was down.
Playing the Policeman was Daine Heath, who imbued the fallen Soapy with insight into both punishment and redemption. The two urchins that roll through the story were played by Hannah Santos as Urchin One and Nautia Macias as Urchin Two. Gimpy Peg, a homeless fixture who knew Soapy back in his troubled times, was played by Breanna Welch. Hobbs — the renewed Soapy’s chauffer/employee — was played by Angel Beltran, with Joshua Smith, Maddy Padilla, and Bruno Rangai as the extras in the story which is a holiday tale of woe and redemption.
On the technical side, sound and lights were handled by Rob Bennett who was cited with a special thanks in the play program with a “Very Special Thanks — We couldn’t have done it without you!” The lights during the performance were worked by Brennan Chan, while props were the handled by Bruno Rangel and Serena Guitierrez. The “stained glass” art backdrop was created by Kieri Heath, Aileen Castro, Rachel Roberts and Breanna Welch, and the play was directed by Deurden.
The production was adapted from O. Henry’s short story, ”The Cop and The Anthem,” and was produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service Inc. of Englewood, Colorado.