By Carmen Robles
The magic of imagination exploded on the stage at The Children’s Theatre Company performance of “The Snowy Day and Other Stories” by Ezra Jack Keats, where puppet shadows intertwine with live actors. The 65-minute show engages the audience through a series of stories.
True to its name, The Children’s Theatre (CTC) was packed with children … children of all ages! Some came dressed in their best going out outfits.
Little girls sported sparkly shoes, gowns and rhinestone barrettes and boys in dress shirts; one young man, about seven-years-old sported, a Fedora hat.
Many held the hands of grandparents, their parents or a loved one as they entered this artistic space that is created specifically for them.
Three actors captivated and entertained the robust audience, drawing them into a make believe world through narration, puppets on a stick, music and song. The ageless audience was quickly drawn into the spell binding artistic stories which moved seamlessly from shadows to live performance.
The stories follow “Peter” a little boy and his adventures with his friends. In one story Peter tries to whistle to get the attention of his dog Willie. The audience erupted with laughter and giggles as the actor, and many in the audience, struggled with “putting your lips together and blowing.” Cheers and applause racked the theater as Peter finally learns the art of whistling through patience, perseverance and confidence.
Laughter … with a cough here, a sneeze there, a baby’s cries echoing through the intimate space added to the already electric atmosphere. There is nothing like the sound of children’s laughter, it penetrates through the spirit and ignites the child within.
After the performance the actors graciously greeted the children further inspiring their imagination of shadow puppetry. The lobby included an area where children ages 1-99 can learn to maneuver puppets on a stick forming shadows and creating their own stories.
“It is especially meaningful to mount this production on the 100th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ birthday; he was a groundbreaking author and illustrator that has had a tremendous impact on children’s illustrations” said new CTC Managing Director Kimberly Motes.
“The wonder of a fresh snowfall, the delight of whistling for the first time, the awe in finding a special treasure: Ezra Jack Keats had a gift for capturing the rapturous joy in a child’s day-to-day life,” commented Peter C. Brosius, director.
Fabrizio Montecchi, world renowned Italian shadow puppetry artist used the puppets and shadows in a deep, sophisticated and surprising way that allowed the audience to be induced deeper and deeper into the stories of Ezra Jack Keats.
Motes added that “education programs give young people skills that impact them no matter what they pursue in life.”
For more information on this and other performances and activities at The Children’s Theatre call 612-874-0400 or visit www.childrenstheatre.org