Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy 100th to Us!

In just over an hour, SCT will open our 100th world premiere production - Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire.

We're very excited to have reached this milestone, as it reflects our dedication to new works and Theatre for Young Audiences. But we're even more excited for the next 100 world premieres, and hope you will join us for the ride!

Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire runs through March 7, 2009 in SCT's Charlotte Martin Theatre.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Activity: Hot & Cold

In Tomás and the Library Lady, Tomás is struggling to learn English. He is frustrated when his teacher doesn’t understand him, and when he can’t understand his teacher.

This activity helps participants think about what it might be like to be misunderstood because of language barriers.

Hot & Cold

Objective: Players will work as a team to give instructions without using English.

- Have one player (Player A) step out of the room or cover their ears
- The rest of the players will choose a simple but specific objective for Player A to achieve. This can include sitting down on a specific chair, touching a specific item in the room, etc.
- When Player A returns to the room, the other playerss will help them reach their objective by telling them “hot” when they are on the right path, and “cold” when they are off the path.

- Have one player (Player A) step out of the room or cover their ears
- The rest of the players will choose a simple but specific objective for Player A to achieve. This can include sitting down on a specific chair, touching a specific item in the room, etc.
- When the Player A returns to the room, the other students will help them reach their objective by simply saying “beep” when Player A is on the right path. Students can vary their volume and intensity to let Player A know when they are close.
- When comfortable with this exercise, change the communication to “beep” means on track, and silence means off the path. Players cannot use volume change.

- For the player walking the path: Was this activity hard or easy? What was hard and what was easy? Was it frustrating only hearing “hot,” “cold,” or “beep?” Was it hard not knowing exactly where to go or what to do?
- For the students leading: Was this activity hard or easy? Was it difficult not being able to say more than “hot,” “cold,” or “beep?”
- Discuss what it would be like if you couldn’t understand what people were saying to you.

If you and your group try this activity, we’d love to hear how it goes! Drop us a note in the comments field.

Tomás and the Library Lady runs through March 1, 2009 in SCT's Eve Alvord Theatre.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What YOU are saying about "Tomás"

After every opening weekend, we poll audiences to get their feedback about the show, passing both positive and negative comments on to the Artistic department and sharing some of our favorites with you. Here is a sample of what audience members have had to say about Tomás and the Library Lady:

We have seen a good number of the plays that SCT has done. "Tomás and the Library Lady" struck me in a way that is unique among many of the plays I have seen; it was poignant without being sentimental, it brought back memories of special adults who helped me when I was a child. It reminded me of how important adults in the community are to children, and how small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

I found that the set and scenery very effectively reflected and supported the story line. I also found the acting to be skilled and powerful; the two actors were able to move convincingly from portraying children to portraying middle aged adults. I feel like the play captured a warm and loving parent-child relationship, something that is rarely seen in children's movies, literature and plays at all, and when it is, it tends to be in an overly sentimental or unrealistic manner. "Tomás and the Library Lady" showed caring family as well as showing the importance of a caring community - something that is rarely seen at all.

While we enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz," I think "Tomás and the Library Lady" will stay with us for much longer. My kids are still talking about the play and processing things that were important to them in it - for my 6 year old son it was the way Tomas found to defeat his nightmare. For my daughter who is struggling with a learning disability, seeing Tomas be successful in learning to read seemed to be very powerful for her.


We loved this play! I was a bit skeptical at first seeing that there were only two actors, but they did an AMAZING job. Both my eight and eleven your old boys left with eyes wide open realizing not everyone's lives are as fortunate as theirs. Fabulous story and lesson for us all. The fact that it was based on a true story made a definate impact on my boys. Thanks for another amazing show!!

Joanie B.

My 8 year old granddaughter and I thoroughly enjoyed "Tomás and the Library Lady." She is in a Spanish immersion elementary school and loved the use of the Spanish language during the performance. She also enjoyed talking to Israel Jimenez in Spanish at the conclusion. I found the performance so touching that I was shedding tears at the end. That one person can have such a profound effect on the life of another is so moving.

I think it's the best thing I've seen at Seattle Children's Theatre. The use of the video on the scrim was great. We saw "The Wizard of Oz" the same day in a double-feature and it was excellent but didn't come close to "Tomás" in emotional intensity in my estimation.

Feel free to use my comments. Oh, yeah, I made a $100 donation after seeing the double-feature on Saturday--that's a good measure, eh?

Judy B.

We really enjoyed it. My 9 year old daughter had read the book at school. We loved the combination of live acting and projected images...very creative! Both the actors we saw on preview night were fantastic. The way they moved in and out of roles was believable and delightful. As a mom and educator, I thought the story was touching and inspirational. The use of Spanish and English felt very complimentary. We are coming a second time with my daughter's class and we are so excited.

We look forward to every performance at SCT. We have yet to be disappointed. The quality of acting, sets, and overall creativity draws us back. It has become our birthday gifts to cousins and friends. Aunts and grandparents vie for the second adult ticket I purchase. The investment of relationship and expanding their world through theater is dear to my heart.

Thanks for doing things so well!

Marisa H.

Thanks to everybody who shared their kind words about the production. Tomás and the Library Lady runs through March 1, 2009 in SCT's Eve Alvord Theatre.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Tomás and the Library Lady" - Previews and Reviews

We are very pleased with the response we've gotten from our production of Tomás and the Library Lady. It really is a lovely, simple and sweet story, and one which is proving to resonate with all kinds of people.

The great press response started out with a preview piece by Doree Armstrong in the Seattle P-I: Despite the stern librarian, 'Tomás' isn't quiet about a love for reading." Positive reviews were soon to follow:

"This charming show for children gives that honorable message a sweet Mexican taste." - Gianni Truzzi, Seattle P-I (scroll down to find review)

"This play takes on more than is typical for a children’s drama: It not only makes the little ones (and their adult companions) giggle, but also prompts them to think." - Jenna Nand, The Seattle Weekly

"Simple yet effective, the production features a dynamic two-person cast playing multiple roles, lots of ethnic touches and fine visuals and videos that augment the story." - Alice Kalso, Everett Herald

We've also been asking families that attend to share their thoughts with us, so check back in later this week for feedback from our patrons. And if you've seen the show but didn't receive an email asking for feedback, please drop us a note in the comments section.

Tomás and the Library Lady runs in SCT's Eve Alvord Theatre through March 1, 2009.

(Oh, and did we mention that our world premiere adventure story Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire opens Friday, January 30th? Don't miss it!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Where have we been?

Yes, it is true, and we aren't proud to say it, but the snow and holidays got the best of Behind the Curtain, and we've kept our loyal readers waiting far, far too long for a new post.

Fortunately, there is so much going on at SCT this month, we're going to have plenty to write about, what with the imminent closing of The Wizard of Oz and two, count'em TWO, opening nights on the near horizon.

We're going to hold off for now on talking about Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire, which opens at the end of the month, because in four short days we open Tomás and the Library Lady, based on the childhood of acclaimed author and educator Tomás Rivera.

While the play focuses on Rivera as a schoolboy, it was the life that followed that made Rivera's name. Rivera was the first Mexican-American chancellor in the University of California system, and also the youngest ever named to the post. As an author, he is best known for his novella ...y no se lo tragó la tierra (translated to English as This Migrant Earth and later And the Earth Did Not Devour Him), which won the first-ever Quinto Sol award. One of Rivera's enduring legacies is The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a research institute dedicated to assisting Latino communities, which he helped found.

You can read more about Tomás Rivera, his life and his work here.

Tomás and the Library Lady opens in SCT's Eve Alvord Theatre on Friday January 9th, 2009, and runs through March 1, 2009.