Sometimes a play is not just a play.
In the case of Yellow Boat, a production by Mountain Pointe High School, it is a little more than an hour long look at the last moments in a young boy's life.
The true story of Benjamin Saar, who was born with congenital hemophilia, was written by his father David. Benjamin died of AIDS-related complications in 1987, when he was 8 years old.
The title is reference to a Scandinavian folksong that spoke of three boats, a blue, a red and a yellow. In the story, the red and blue boat sailed back to port after their journey and the yellow flew up to the sun. Benjamin would tell his mother, Sonja, before bed that she could be the red or blue, and that he would be the yellow.
The Mountain Pointe cast received a surprise visit from David Saar on Monday, Aug. 30. The meeting opened their eyes to the story behind the story and, like several cast members said, listening to the author made them realize they were playing actual people and not just characters in a play.
"It was amazing to hear him talk about where these characters came from and what they revolved around," said Cody Baker, 14, who plays Benjamin.
Director Kim Bonagofski said the fact that this play is based on a true story didn't hit the cast until David spoke to them.
"There was not a dry eye in the cast," she said. "I think hearing the words come out of his mouth really opened their eyes to the nature of the story."
Shea Hunter, 16, said, "(David) told us he wants you to walk out of the show, not thinking it's about a little boy who died, but that it was a story about a little boy that lived."
The production will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 3 and 4, in the Mountain Pointe auditorium, 4201 E. Knox Road. There will be cards on sale for $5, all the proceeds of which will benefit the Hemophilia Association.