Igniting a childhood memory with Junie B.


Zari Kumalo

The CRC play “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” was held in person at the Black Box Theatre and over livestream. The play is about a gift exchange taking place at Junie B.’s school, but she prevents herself from getting a gift for her nemesis May.

The theatre department performed “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” by Allison Gregory on Friday in person and via livestream.
The play is based on the children’s book, “Junie B., First grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May)” by Barbara Park.
With Junie B. excited for the holiday season and the gift exchange taking place at her school, things take a turn when Junie B. draws her nemesis’s name, May.
Junie B. finds this as the perfect opportunity to teach May a lesson, but the Christmas spirit forestalls her from doing so.
I didn’t watch the play in person because I was out of town, so the livestream was my best bet.
Attending the event five minutes early, I noticed the title of the play on the screen and just below, a reminder of when the show will start.
The camera was set up in an aisle and there were theatre goers talking amongst themselves waiting for the play to start.
In the background, I was able to see a bit of the classroom setup that included a chalkboard and large blocks with letters of the alphabet on the face of each side.
A few minutes later, Brian Rickel, the dean of arts, media, and entertainment engaged with the audience and then the play started.
Right off the bat, I saw how on par the outfits were with what I’d expected from first graders. Mix-matched and a lovely mess.
Junie B’s white crocs, gray leggings, black skirt with a green trim around the bottom, topped off with her red and white striped top and her light green cardigan was a sight for my childhood sore eyes.
The Junie B. Jones series was my favorite book series as a kid, and these outfits were the highlight of my evening.
I also caught sight of Junie B.’s hair which was spot on just like the cover of the books.
Finally being able to see the entire setting around the kids sitting on their blocks, I observed the details.
Above the chalkboard there were alphabet bulletin cards and a list of numbers right underneath. At the end of the alphabet, there was an American flag sticking out from the wall.
Off to the left of the chalkboard was a trash can.
The walls were yellow and had a green trim, but for the most part they were bare.
The camera production crew was giving the viewers of the livestream angles which helped me get a better look at the “classroom.”
I saw what looked like the thing that teachers hang on the wall where you “pull your card” if you were misbehaving. Honestly, I was having flashbacks of when I first registered what those were intended for.
I definitely did not want to unlock that memory.
Whoever chose the set up for the stage was a genius because the transition to different scenes made it easier with the walls being bare.
The spotlights when Junie B. was having a monologue were pretty cool because I felt like I was in her head.
When it came to Junie B. and May arguing and physically fighting each other, I was hoping for sound effects, but they’re first graders so I guess that’d be too much.
My love for action movies was rearing its head.
Throughout the play, the audio kept lagging and I’m not sure if it was the hotel’s terrible Wi-Fi or the livestream itself.
It was only off by a few seconds, but that did not change the content of the play.
With my Ben & Jerry’s vanilla caramel fudge ice cream in hand, I sat back and soaked up memories.
After the credits rolled by, it was noted that the Theatre and Dance Department will return in Spring of 2022.