Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Bay Area Children’s Theatre to Perform in Shanghai

The BACT cast of James and the Giant Peach
We have GIANT news to share: Bay Area Children's Theatre is going international! Actors, artists and educators from BACT will be traveling to China this summer to perform our production of James and the Giant Peach! 

Many of you saw our presentation of Pasek & Paul's musical James and the Giant Peach in its California debut this past winter. The executive director of Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre also attended one of our performances and enjoyed the show so much, she has invited us to her theatre as part of a cross-cultural exchange!

Shanghai Children's Art Theatre performance venue.
Photo: Charles Xia

The Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre is a dynamic performing arts organization that is bringing cutting edge children’s programming to the families of Shanghai. It's that city's largest theater dedicated to professional productions for young audiences. BACT will debut James and the Giant Peach in Shanghai with four performances on August 1 and 2.

We are so honored to be included in the theatre’s roster of international visitors for 2015. Our cast and design team are very excited about taking our work abroad for the first time and introducing a vibrant new play in the great tradition of American musical theatre!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Genevieve Blogs: How to Make a China Rabbit Come to Life On Stage

BACT Blogger Genevieve is back! This time, she had a special assignment about our show The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: How do you make a main character who is an inanimate object come to life on-stage? Genevieve is 12 years old and in sixth grade at Kensington Hilltop School. She loves theater and has been going to productions since she was three years old. Genevieve enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and playing piano. She lives in Kensington with her parents and two younger siblings. Genevieve just played Hamlet in her school play. She thinks BACT is awesome and everybody who works there really inspires her!

     Most of us have had imaginary friends, stuffed animals, or dolls. Whenever we play with them, we usually imagine and create what this inanimate object is thinking, either by saying it out loud, or thinking it in our heads. In books, authors can simply write what the object is thinking. However, in live theater, it’s much harder to explain exactly what the doll or stuffed animal is thinking so that the audience will understand. 

     People who take part in productions with inanimate creatures must be very creative. In Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s (BACT) most recent production called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, the main character is a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. He belongs to a little girl and one day he is lost and re-discovered by several new families. In this story Edward Tulane learns humility and love and is exposed to sadness for the first time and really does go on a miraculous journey. Although he imagines many things and tries to talk to people, he cannot be heard or understood by humans.

     I imagine that it was probably really hard to figure out how to make Edward heard by the audience. It is really important that he is heard, or else the story wouldn’t make very much sense. The creative and production teams explained what Edward was thinking on stage by having the characters hold a china rabbit doll, as if he was a normal doll. Nearby, another actor stood with a guitar, speaking Edward’s thoughts to the audience. The actor speaking Edward’s words stayed close to the doll and was perfectly still as if he was an inanimate object.

     It was brave of the playwright to take on the challenge of turning this story into a play, and for BACT to produce it, because it is more common for books to have objects as main characters. In books, authors can write about the adventures and the object’s conversations. In plays, it is different. I don’t know if I have ever seen a play like this one! It must have been a very difficult production to be a part of.

     I loved this production because it had live music and an interesting storyline. It was filled with happiness, sadness, hopefulness, and most especially love. I enjoyed the interesting people and props that were a part of the play. I also thought that the acting was really good. I am thankful to everybody who took part of this production.


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane runs thru March 22nd at the Osher Studio in downtown Berkeley, then runs from March 28-April 12 at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. Click here for tickets.