Reserved seating for the playwrights took up the entire front row of the historic theatre. A minimalist set of four chairs and four wooden crates made up the set. Professional lighting effects were simple and effective. Four talented actors performed with dignity, humour and unlimited energy. The director beamed as the afternoon of pure theatre went off without a hitch….well, one slight hitch in misreading the script. The improvisation skills of the actors saved the day, as usual. All in all a very unique festival of playing with words of children, ages 8 to 13 and I was most pleased to be invited there as a guest.
During the presentations there were many magical talking trees, superheroes and ways to deal with schoolyard bullies. Some plays were about loss, abandonment and even grief. Many were flat-out, side-splitting hilarious such as the one about the third grade rap star and his rapper horse sidekick. (I know……the kid who thought this up is a genius!) And then there was the bird house play with its mounting tension and surprise ending…..( reminded me just a little of the movie Fargo!), My favourite had to be the play about a wishing star, two headed snake and a walking candle. Talk about deep.
The Grand Theatre in London Ontario was the venue for this entertaining project, Word Play. Funds were raised , supporters were included, professional actors and directors worked with the kids and the audience simply loved it. Reactions from the audience at times overwhelmed the young playwrights but they all took their bows in turn. We all shared the great atmosphere, laughter and pride in these kids. Theatre really doesn’t get any better than this!