Father Judge play about duckling tackles real world issues

With Easter Sunday less than a week away, Father Judge High School picked the right time to host its annual spring musical.

Honk!, which was first developed in 1993 by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, tells the story of a baby duck called Ugly who is different from the rest of the other ducks.

The show was fun, exciting and catchy. However, it was hard to miss the many underlying messages throughout the show. The primary one being bullying and its negative impact on society, mainly the individual being bullied.

The story of Ugly

Made fun of by his siblings, his father and the rest of the other ducks, Ugly wishes he was like the rest of them. However, his mother Ida reassures him there’s nothing wrong with being different.

As his family is away eating without him, Ugly is lured away by a Cat who is intent on eating him. Luckily Ugly, played by senior Zachary Blaisdell, escapes after a musical number, Play with your Food, performed quite nicely by Colin Field, who played the sly and conniving cat. The show continues with Ugly trying to find his mother.

Along the way he runs into a beautiful swan, Penny, whom he refers to as pretty Penny, saving her from a tangled fishing line. Eventually, Ugly is found by his mother frozen during the winter months, but her tears bring him back to life as a swan, and he is reunited with Penny, to whom he bid adieu when she and her flock migrated south for the winter.

More than a play

“As much as we don’t like to admit it, bullying happens and I don’t think it’s ever going to go away,” Field said.

Lorry VanBuskirk, a mother of two in the show, said she believes this was the right time for the show with everything going on in today’s world. “Maybe the show taught the kids a little bit that everyone does have a bit of swan inside of them.”

Dominic Mallon, a graduate of Father Judge and former performer in the school’s musicals, said the show was much different from when he was a student there. “There was a different director and the shows she picked were a lot more mainstream shows that people had heard of,” Mallon said.“But after seeing it, I thought it was an interesting show and the kids did a great job with it.”

Mainstream or not, the students of Father Judge and their sister schools did an excellent job in their performances and tackling the issue of bullying.

Ryan McDonald is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.


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