In the 1930s, when “Reefer Madness” first made its way into theaters as a propaganda film against marijuana, the audience took the melodramatic events surrounding soon-to-be addicted high school students seriously. In the 1970s, amid the movement for cannabis policy reform, the film experienced a comeback as unintentional satire.
And today? Marijuana has lost its stigma, at least most of it, and Oklahoma allows the use of medical cannabis. But young and dumb teenagers getting high still offers great entertainment, and so do adults with almost pretentiously ridiculous prejudices against marijuana. In other words, “Reefer Madness” makes for great comedy, and Director Ben Williams from Blue Moon Productions has every intention to exploit that potential to the fullest.
With members of Blue Moon Productions, Cameron University students and community members, Williams is about to perform “Reefer Madness” as a satirical musical comedy at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Cameron’s Blackbox Theatre, 2702 SW A Ave.
“It’s very satirical,” Williams said. “We make fun of a lot of the preconceived notions of marijuana.” The goal, he said, is for the audience to leave entertained.
The two-hour-long musical follows two young teenagers, Mary and Jimmy, as they face issues with cannabis. Jimmy is the typical golden boy any parent would want, but then dragged into illegal activity, Victor Quinones, who plays Jimmy, said.
“He’s a good scholar and athlete, but also very naive and prone to get himself in trouble,” Quinones added.
“She’s a super innocent character,” Victoria Spruill, who plays Mary, said. “She’s shy and only cares about Jimmy.”
Plans for the musical have been in place since around January, according to Williams, with auditions taking place on May 24 and rehearsals happening throughout June and July. Williams said that the timeline was stretched out to make sure the 13 actors and nine crew members got the time they need, and work on the projects went “without problems.”
“I’m very excited, it’s super important to me,” Spruill said. For her, it’s the first lead role ever. Preparing for her role also consisted of practicing a higher voice, she said, as well as rehearsing a lot with Quinones for the duets.
“I can’t wait for people to see it,” Quinones said. “Everybody put a lot of effort into it.” For him, it was important to pay attention to the consequences of his character’s actions and to relay that into his acting. It’s his first lead role in a musical.
“The cast is extremely integrated,” Williams said. “It wasn’t only acting, they also helped with the set. The show wouldn’t run without them and the crew.”
The musical will consist of language and a lot of adult content presented in humorous ways, as well as controversial topics such as abuse and drug use. Smoke, haze and flashing lights will also be part of the musical. Admission is $15 at the door on a first-come first-serve basis. Cash and card are accepted.