They are the students who said yes, to “Monty Python’s Edukational Show.”
Analy High School Theatre is doing a play, directed by drama teacher Jonathan Mazer, based on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” with animation, sketches and songs from the 1969 TV series.
After staging the drama “Radium Girls” last fall, Mazer encouraged his students to pick a play that would be fun and provide performance opportunities for as many kids as possible.
“It was originally written for four to 16 actors,” Mazer said, “but we actually have 32 kids in it … Everybody has a part; everybody has a line.”
The drama club voted for Monty Python over Williams Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”
“Ultimately we just decided we want to have fun,” Mazer said. “We want to have a blast with this thing.”
“Monty Python’s Edukational Show” is the only official collection of songs and sketches by Monty Python approved for performance, according to Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
Despite the fact that “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” first aired 50 years ago, Mazer discovered that most of the students in the production were already familiar with their work.
“A lot of these students in this production not only know Monty Python but are like Monty Python geeks,” he said, noting that most have watched the original sketches, some own books about Python, and almost all of the students have seen the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Mazer said one student, Lars Dellos, knows more about Monty Python than he does.
Dellos, a senior, plays The Minister of Silly Walks, made famous by John Cleese, and also sings Eric Idle’s “Money Song” in the show.
“I’m very excited to see Monty Python brought to a new, younger audience,” Dellos said. “Through self-exposure and my parents, I watch a lot of Python.”
Mazer, who is 42, was excited to see how relevant Monty Python’s material remains today for his students. He said it’s hard to say, but since Python is from the ’70s, it feels more contemporary to his students than a ’40s or ’50s musical.
Several students have told Mazer that they don’t usually go to musicals or care for theater, but they love Monty Python.
“Truth be told, there are a few students who auditioned who otherwise would not have,” Mazer said, “just because they were so excited to get to do some Monty Python.”
Dellos, who enjoys the historical aspect of Python, appreciates how their material speaks to people who like physical comedy and those who like more intellectual humor.
Monty Python is also known for its fourth-wall-breaking humor, and Dellos has several moments where he interacts with the crowd.
“I do a very silly walk through the audience,” Dellos said.
Mazer said it’s been amazing to direct this performance with a student like Dellos, due to his dedication and love for the material. He said that when students have that amount of excitement, it feels like working with adults or professional actors.
“It’s very empowering to them, and it’s a lot of fun for me,” Mazer said. “It feels more like a collaboration and less like a prescribing what they should do.”
Dellos said the play is called “Monty Python’s Edukational Show” for a reason. Not only is it a joke about education, but a way for someone who hasn’t heard of Monty Python to learn about their simple but effective comedy style.
“It’s also very rewarding talking Monty Python theory,” Dellos said, “more than I ever thought I’d be able to in my life.”
When: Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m.
Where: Analy High School Theatre, 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol
Admission: $8 for students with ID, $12 for general. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com.