Pet Detectives Bring the Laughs in “Boots and Bits”


Finlay Allen

Boots and Bits, played by Atticus Fasnakis-Nosal and Robbie Brodner talk about the case they are solving.

Once upon a time, there was a cat and a dog who lived with a loving suburban family and enjoyed…solving crimes. Yes, this was the plot of Boots and Bits, the middle school play performed by Mr. Bob Bayless’ drama class on February 6 and 7. 

Finlay Allen
Eighth grader Atticus Fasnakis-Nosal, Boots, sets the scene with a monologue about who the crook could be.

Boots, the cat, much like Sherlock Holmes, is a clever puzzle solver and master of deduction. Bits, the dog, well…not so much. He’s a bit denser than his feline companion. However, they are good friends and must solve the mystery of which neighborhood animal stole the tricycle belonging to the little human girl with whom they live. These domesticated house pets, though, only solve cases of missing items around the neighborhood when the humans they belong to aren’t home.

 There were two performances, one on the evening of February 6 for the TBS community, and one on the afternoon of February 7 for the entire Middle School. According to the director and drama teacher Mr. Bob Bayless, the whole point of a play is the connection between the actors and the audience, and both performances were a success. 

“One could see how at the end and when the audience was laughing that this connection was strong,” said Bayless. And while Bayless was pleased with the performances, it is not his favorite part of directing.

“Although it is very satisfying to watch the play, the rehearsal process is still my favorite part because one can see how [the actors] improve,” he said.

 The students pulled off their successful shows despite only having four weeks of rehearsal time which also included two Saturday run-throughs from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

“I enjoyed being the lead, but I had to memorize a lot of lines,” said eighth grader Atticus Fasnakis-Nosal. “It was hard but it was worth it in the end. I had to practice every day for almost three weeks.” 

For Bayless, one of the biggest challenges is finding a play to perform.

“There is a lot of research in trying to find a play, and it is particularly hard with the number of girls and boys in the class,” said Bayless. In referring to girls, Bayless means there aren’t any. His drama class is comprised of 11 seventh and eighth-grade boys, a trend that has been the norm for the last several years.

“This year and last year we had to get some boys to play the part of girls, [so there] is a perception that girls aren’t allowed [in the class],” said Bayless. “I hope next year girls get involved in the drama course.”

However, the fact that some boys had to play girls only added to the comedy. “I felt like I was an absolute beast while on stage,” joked eighth-grader Julian Janin, who played the children’s mother. “Plus, putting on makeup and a dress was fun.”

Winni Cox
Eighth graders Nick Cecchini and J.Paul Jacobs pet Bits played by Robbie Brodner.

Another actor who had to portray a female was fellow eighth-grader JP Jacobs. He played the little girl whose tricycle was stolen as well as a female raccoon. “I did not enjoy the role [of the little girl], but it was the role I had to do, and in the end it was kind of fun seeing everyone laughing.” 

“We always try to pick a comedy,” said Bayless. “Students like those a lot.” 

Eighth grader Joshua Luiz was one such student. 

“I liked it a lot,” he said. “It was kind of weird, but then it got better towards the ending.”

“I really enjoyed it,” said fellow eighth grader Brendan Matz. “In the beginning, I was not very excited, but then when JP [Jacobs] came out with the dress, it started to get better. And finally at the end when JP [Jacobs] put the pie in [Luca’s] face, [it] made it better than the one last year.” 

Boots and Bits was a team effort that was a memorable experience for all involved. “It is very fun to watch how a play goes from an idea or just a funny thought,” said Bayless, “to a whole play that makes both the students and teachers laugh.”