By Kristie Staphryder | Beacon staff writer
With the vast desert of cornfields stretching out before him like a sea of green plants, Lawrence of Michiana sits astride his Vespa planning his next move. Will he throw up his hands like a forlorn diner in a greasy spoon or will he rise to the challenge and putter ahead, thus uniting the teenagers of Michiana in their struggle against the march of modernization?
And there’s the rub. If you want to find out what happens you’ll have to buy a ticket and see the show. The show, that is, that the Bass Lake High School drama club is presenting this fall.
Based loosely on the life of Larry Yoder, a ne’re-do-well and habitual traffic offender who nevertheless roused himself to lead the Great Corn Revolt of 1974, “Lawrence of Michiana” is an original play in three acts.
The uprising was a response to the advent of corn detasseling machines. The machines, while great for the farmers, took a toll on the hundreds of teenagers who relied on corn detasseling jobs to get them through the summer.
“The real Larry Yoder was quite a character,” said the playwright and director Jan Flug. “I took out all the stories involving drug use and cow-tipping and just included his more slightly less illegal activities.”
The BLHS production stars Junior Trample, Jr., as Lawrence, and Bethesda Whipple as Kitty Pie, his faithful yet long-suffering love interest. Trample and Whipple are joined by a cast of tens, many of whom had not heard of Larry Yoder until auditions. Flug hopes to change that.
“He was a hero to high school students in that crazy decade,” Flug said. “His story should be told.”
“Lawrence of Michiana” runs through the second weekend in November, with performances on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Tickets are $5 for students with I.D. and $7.57 for adults. Bring a dish to pass and get a free soft drink at intermission.