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The Burnt Part Boys Preview

posted Oct 16, 2012, 11:38 PM by Golden Knight

 By Casey Shatraw 

 St. Francis High School has always been known for its highly anticipated fall and spring theater productions, and this is mainly because it is blessed to have a talented director, a hardworking cast, and an enormous amount of community support. The plays never disappoint, and always introduce new provocative topics for the audience. The productions also amplify the Franciscan values that make the school unique. This fall, St. Francis brings us yet another musical production that is sure to please and enrich the mind and heart. The Burnt Part Boys will be the featured production, and I personally cannot wait to see what they have to offer. I caught up with Brady DeMattei, a junior who has been in theater since his freshman year, to give us a preview of what the fall production will be about.

What is The Burnt Part Boys about?

            The Burnt Part Boys is about a poor coal-mining town in 1962 West Virginia, and is centered around Pete, whose father was killed in a coal mining accident along with other miners. The area where the remnants of the coal mind is located is called the Burnt Part. The company, which owns the mine, goes back on its promise to never reopen the mine. This place is considered a sacred place to Pete because his father’s remains are still there. He is also angered because his older brother, Jake, has been promoted to work at this mine. Pete, along with his friend Dusty, and later the runaway, Frances, set off to blow up the mine with dynamite stolen from Jake’s mining equipment. This forces Jake and his friend Chet to go after Pete.

What role do you have in this play?

            I play the role of Roy Tinns. He is one of the younger miners who does not have any children unlike many of the other miners whom he died with. I also make an appearance as a manly chorus member in the Davy Crockett song as one of two basses.

What will separate this play from any other plays you’ve been involved in at St. Francis?

            The main difference with this production when compared with the past productions I have been in is that it is the first bluegrass/country musical in SFHS theatre history. Also, this is the first production that I have been in that has been set in America. In the past I’ve been in Assisi (Troubadour), a French-like provincial town (Beauty and the Beast), a tropical island (Lord of the Flies), and Paris (Phantom of the Opera), but this is the first American setting for me personally.

Are there any new challenges you and the cast will face in pulling off this production, in terms of the play itself?

            The biggest challenge is probably going to be the style and rhythm that country music has. I think I speak on behalf of the entire cast when I say that the rhythm with the songs is the most challenging thing so far; but I know we have it down. For me personally, I think the biggest challenge will be the harmonies. There are a lot of dissonant notes that when sung correctly, sound fantastic and will even send shivers down your spine; but when one person sings them incorrectly, (which is me a lot of the time) it can have quite the opposite effect. Harmony has given me problems in the past and is just something I need to work hard on.

            St. Francis’ production of the Burnt Part Boys sounds like another exciting and thought provoking play that I am looking forward to. It will be interesting to see all of the cast members, new and returning, work together to make something memorable in the school’s theater history. Make sure to get your tickets as soon as they go on sale, because we all know how fast they sell out!