RIGBY — The screen looming behind the stage shows black-and-white footage of sailors at Pearl Harbor, seemingly enjoying themselves without a care in the world. Then the planes start to approach.
Four high-school boys sit to the left of the screen, three girls to the right. Dressed in all-black shoes, pants, shirts and dresses, they are almost invisible against the curtains. As the audience sees the flaming wreckage of Pearl Harbor in the aftermath of the Japanese attack, President Franklin Roosevelt’s voice fills the auditorium.
So starts “The Price of Freedom,” a musical and spoken word performance that tells the story of the U.S.’s involvement in World War II through the eyes of several young men who enlisted and their wives and mothers at home, using newsreel footage from the period. Brianna Holbrook, a senior at Rigby High School, is directing the play for her senior project.
Thursday is the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Holbrook said she decided to put on the musical, which was written in 2009 by composer Rob Gardner and songwriter McKane Davis, after seeing her father in a performance of it in Salmon.
“It was really touching for me to hear the music and listen to the story and all,” she said after a Thursday rehearsal.
Holbrook’s great-grandfather was in the Navy during World War II; he didn’t go overseas then, but he did during the Korean War, when he served on a Navy destroyer off the coast of Japan. Before directing this, she had experience in musicals, choir and her school band.
Holbrook said she hopes the performance inspires her peers to be more patriotic and more aware of what veterans have done for this country.
“We just want people to recognize that freedom comes with a price and sacrifice is an important thing in our lives,” said her mother, Holly Holbrook, who is helping Brianna put on the play.
“The Price of Freedom” will be shown at 6 p.m. Monday in the Rigby High School auditorium. Admission is free.
Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757.