originally published December 2008
Up next in the c2c basement theatre series is a show surely to be adored by St. John’s audiences, if not for the nostalgia then just by the pure whimsy of the subject matter. Sandy Gow is trying her had at directing in this, their fifth season. She let a few cats (dragons and pigs) out of the bag with this exclusive preview of the show!
The title suggests a lot of Munsch, how does the show come together?
There are 8 stories by Robert Munsch in the play. Some of them are very well known, like Mud Puddle and The Paperbag Princess, then there are stories that not everyone has heard before, like Ribbon Rescue and Aaron’s Hair. We discovered early on that Ribbon Rescue has become a cast favorite. It is about a young girl who accidentally ruins her beautiful dress when she gives all of her ribbons away to help a wedding party get to the church on time. The story has a great ending that I won’t give away here.
How did you stumble across the script?
There’s a series of Munsch plays adapted by Kim McCaw that were performed at The Grand Theatre in Edmonton some years ago. Charlie Tomlinson, our Artistic Director, was involved with that, and it was his idea for c2c theatre to do this show for children.
What’s the premise?
The play takes place in a kindergarten classroom, and the four children we meet are characters from Robert Munsch stories. Among the 4 is Elizabeth, she’s new at school. She has just had a big adventure with a dragon, but before she’ll tell the others about it, they have to tell her a story of their own.
What made you want to get involved with the project?
Choosing to stage a children’s show is a big step for c2c theatre. We’re opening ourselves up to the community, creating an experience that we hope becomes an annual event for young people and families. We’re very excited to be presenting engaging theatre for young people. It is an opportunity to share our skill of story telling and our sense of play with an age group that thrives on it.
Who’s this show for?
The short answer is that this show is for children, but the long answer is that Munsch is a very, very, very good storyteller, and I have had a lot of excitement come from adults about this show. Our job is to make it great for the kids, but we are all very proud knowing that this will be an enjoyable show for the grown ups as well. It feels pretty good to have a group or thirty year olds laughing out loud while watching “Andrew’s Loose Tooth” and “We Share Everything”.
What kind of show can people expect?
Because the show is based on Munsch stories, a lot of people ask if it’s story telling or a play. People can expect to see a play with a lively cast of characters and a lot of action. Adam Brake, Katie Butler, Willow Kean and Rory Lambert play the 4 children, and their energy and animation onstage is spectacular.
Any surprise details you can sneak?
When we began rehearsals for the show I asked Chris Driedzic, our musician, to consider creating the soundscape with instruments you would find in a child’s toy chest. What he brought into rehearsal was the most amazing collection of noisemakers, xylophones, bells, and whistles I’ve ever seen. This choice has had an amazing impact on the show.
First appearance with c2c in 2006, now direction, how’s that progression worked?
These past two years with c2c theatre have been amazing. This is the second show I’ve directed for c2c theatre, and I can see how much the company has grown since this time last year alone. The difference is outstanding. And with each new show I can see the support system grow. I am very lucky to have been given this opportunity. It is high on my list of good things to not take for granted.
How do people check out the show?
The show runs twice a day Thursdays to Sundays at the Basement Theatre, December 11 -14 and 18 -21. Tickets are on sale at the Arts and Culture Centre Box Office. 729-3900, with a Pay What You Can Matinee Saturday December 13 at 10am.