Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Enchanted Bookshop--it's not just for kids anymore

Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK

I love writing for kids. Both of my daughters were active in theater when they were young, and although they're grown up now and have found other interests to pursue, their theatrical experiences have given us a lifetime of happy memories. And I'm firmly convinced that their success in their current careers is due in large part to the social skills they learned and the confidence they developed as young performers.

So I'm a big believer in children's theatre. Which is why I love seeing kids perform my plays. But it's just as much fun to see my plays being done by adults.

It is a much rarer experience, however. Less than 5% of my plays are performed by adult church and community theater groups.

Some of my plays, of course, are done more frequently than others. My restaurant farce Million Dollar Meatballs has been extremely popular with older groups, as has my British drawing room mystery The Butler Did It! On the other hand, The Enchanted Bookshop has been entirely limited to schools and children's theater groups.

Until now, that is.

I just came across a fun article about a production of this large-cast fantasy comedy all the way up in Petersburg, Alaska. The group performing the play is called the Mitkof Mummers, named for the boggy island near Juneau where Petersburg is located.

The performances are tonight and tomorrow, and the article says that they're intended for all ages. The photos, however, suggest that all of the performers are adults.

And really, should that seem so strange? I mean look at some of the books that the play's characters come from: Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Oliver Twist. Those are mature, meaty books--books that appeal to adults just as much--or even more so--than kids.

And if the other characters come purely from children's books, anyone who first fell in love with them as a child knows that they stay with you whole life, just as my daughter's theatrical experiences have stayed with them.

So call me crazy, but I think a lot more adult groups should perform The Enchanted Bookshop. I guarantee it'll bring out the child in you, whatever your age.

Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK