Almost everyone has memories from their childhood of Charlie Brown. We remember the whole family gathering around the TV to watch the latest Charlie Brown special. Or how much we laughed when Lucy yanked the football away for the umpteenth time. We asked five of the Peanuts gang to share some of their memories.

What was your first contact with Charlie Brown? Did you watch it on TV or read the comics?

Hazel • My first contact was watching it on TV. I remember watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and it became my favourite thing to watch in the fall. It made me hungry for pumpkin cookies.

Becky • As the youngest of three kids, I mostly did whatever my older siblings did. My first memory of Charlie Brown is sitting with my siblings and watching the movies or TV specials.

Ben • All of the above! I had a great big book of Peanuts comics that I would read non-stop, but the main Charlie Brown tradition was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year during the holidays.

Duncan • I think it may have been watching the Christmas special as a little boy.

Kris • Every Halloween I’d sit and watch all the autumn/spooky-time movies that would play on TV. Every year It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown would show, and I would try to catch it!

Which character are you playing? Do you relate to your character at all?

Hazel • I am playing Sally Brown! I definitely relate to Sally. We both know exactly what we want and exactly how to get it. My grandpa used to call me a lawyer kid because I knew how to convince people to agree with me and do whatever I want. It was a really helpful skill to use and I got a lot of free Slurpees out of it.

Becky • I am playing Lucy Van Pelt. I see many similarities between Lucy and myself, especially my younger self. She is bold and unabashedly herself. She uses humor and teasing as a way to connect with people, though deep down she is sensitive and desires friendship and love just like everyone else.

Ben • I’m playing Charlie Brown! I relate to Charlie a lot; growing up I struggled with feeling like I had to pretend to be happy for others. I wish there were more stories that show kids, and especially little boys, that it’s okay to feel down from time to time and that it’s always okay to ask for help.

Duncan • I’m playing Snoopy! I do relate to him primarily in the way that we both seem to have a borderline unhealthy obsession with a getting a good meal in.

Kris • I’m playing Charlie Brown’s blanket-wielding best friend Linus Van Pelt! I relate to Linus’ simultaneous child-like and level-headed nature. He’s not afraid to be his baby-ish self, but is always there to reel Charlie Brown in when he starts to spiral.

L-R Hazel Wallace (Sally Brown), Duncan Cox (Snoopy), Kris Cahatol (Linus Van Pelt), Becky Frohlinger (Lucy Van Pelt), and Ben Ridd (Charlie Brown)

What do you think accounts for the long-lasting nature of people’s love affair with these characters?

Hazel • I think people love these characters because everybody was one of them at one point in their lives. These characters have grown up with many generations and have brought comfort, laughter and happiness to everyone.

Becky • Schulz has created multi-faceted and layered characters that navigate human experiences and deal with everyday life. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, or how old you are, you can relate to at least one (if not several) of these characters. I think that is what creates longevity and why we continue to love them!

Ben • One of my favorite aspects of Charlie Brown is that it’s always told through the eyes of a child. I think that way of telling stories gives people of all ages permission to read just like they are kids again.

Duncan • I think people are unwittingly drawn in by the melancholy. We all have a certain ‘on again off again’ thing with feelings of sadness and wondering where/how we fit in. Charlie and the gang unabashedly share these feelings that I think are often kept inside. We can all relate and therefore we can all connect.

Kris • I think we can all see ourselves in the Peanuts. From Charlie Brown’s disasters to Snoopy’s dinner celebrations, there is struggle, silliness, sincerity in these characters that we’ve all experienced, to some extent, growing up, and maybe still feel now.

What feeling do you hope to leave audience members with after they see this show?

Hazel • I hope it brings them great warmth and happiness that radiates onto others.

Becky • It has been an unusual past two years and what I missed the most was being able to gather with my friends and family. It feels so good to be in a theatre with so many people all sharing in the joy of storytelling and the holidays. I hope the audience feels the comfort of togetherness that we feel everyday here at MTYP.

Ben • I want people to remember a time when they believed snow comes up from the ground. I want people to know that they aren’t the only one who chews their pencil. And most importantly…. I want people to know that if they ever need help there will always be someone there for you.

Duncan • I hope that people feel validated and warm inside. The holidays are a lot of things for a lot of people and they’re not always necessarily easy or good things. The acknowledgement that these feelings exist across a swath of minds always serves to make me feel a little better and a little less alone. I wish the same for you!

Kris • I hope to leave the audience members with a spark of curiosity and joy after they see the show. Whether it’s a young person or a not-so-young person, I wish for them to remember and find that feeling of wonder and freshness that comes so easily to little ones and that can sometimes go missing in us as we grow older. And, of course, some good old holiday warmth 🙂