“Freak the Mighty” a formidable team

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 3:11 pm on Thursday, November 24, 2011

Others kids pick on Max, calling him big, stupid and slow. Max learned how to be alone.
One day, Kevin came along. People called him Freak. The two teamed up to become “Freak the Mighty.”
“We read through the book in class and the kids really liked it. When I looked into it, I learned the author offered it as a script for free,” said Shannon Powell, director and drama club instructor. “It is a difficult story to do as a play, but the kids have done very well with it.”
The story of “Freak the Mighty” — presented by the Central Montcalm High School and Middle School Drama Team — focuses on Max, played skillfully by senior Zack Ridenour. He is big, clumsy and outgrowing his size 13 shoes. With an unusual family history, people are afraid of him.
Max learns how to be alone.
And then Kevin comes along. Small, handicapped Kevin, portrayed adeptly by 13-year-old Brendan Doolittle, is another target for taunts and teasing. But what Kevin lacks in size, he makes up with brains.
“Sometimes you get to be friends with someone, you never know how wonderful it is going to be,” Max says.
“I am the brains and you are the brawn,” Kevin adds.
The two work well together on stage and both show talent. Ridenour handles long monologues, showing emotion in his words, while Doolittle tackles the complicated lexicon with little hesitancy.
Max’s grandparents and Kevin’s mom worry about their boys.
“I feel this is a new start for all of us,” says Gram, played well by Chelsea LeClere.
The cast also works as crew, handling the many props and scene changes. Creativity is seen in places like the fireworks scene, with those onstage facing away from the audience.
Max, in his monologues, presents foreshadowing, hinting to the audience.
“We were the little freak and the big retard. We had a better name, we just didn’t know it yet,” says Max.
The two become “Freak the Mighty” and team up to handle things like absent fathers.
“Did I ever tell you about my dad?” Kevin asks. “When he heard I was born with a birth defect, he became a magician and made himself disappear.”
The poignant story helps Max learn to respect his own intelligence, endure his frightening heritage and learn the strength of friendship and family.

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