Stone Soup Theatre:
1414 N. 42nd St.
Seattle, WA 98103
Quality Entertainment in One Act
December 8 – December 23, 2006
Recreate the nostalgic magic of Dylan Thomas’ childhood.
One of the most enduring, yet often forgotten Christmas memoirs, Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” recreates the nostalgic magic of Dylan Thomas’ childhood Christmas when everything was brighter, better and more alive. However what Dylan comes to realize is that the experience of Christmas doesn’t change with time, but holds a place in our hearts that nothing else can fill. Performers include our youth conservatory students and professional adult actors. Come watch Dylan recreate Christmas at Stone Soup.
December 11, 2006
By Joe Adcock, P-I Theatre Critic
Those who are blind to the enticements of the holiday season might consider engaging the services of what one might think of as “seeing-eye children.” Youngsters perceive delights that have become invisible to jaded adults.
Both Stone Soup Theatre and Seattle Public Theater are staging productions that see Christmas from children’s points of view. They are about children. And they feature performances by children.
Dylan Thomas’ play is a verbal picture book originally performed, in 1955, as a British Broadcasting Corp. radio feature.
With words, Thomas creates sound effects (“the gong was bombilating”), scenery (“the harp-shaped hills”), props (“a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow”) and characters (“two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and windblown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two curling smoke clouds of their briars.”)
Thomas’ ornate poetry is not ideally suited to be enunciated by the elementary and middle school kids who constitute most of the Stone Soup cast. There’s a certain amount of stumbling, fumbling and mumbling. But most of the “Child’s Christmas” incidents are perceived by or experienced by children. So in that sense the cast is appropriate, even endearing.
Director Jack Lush has taken some liberties with the script. A snippet of T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” finds its way into the show as do memories of favorite non-1955 presents such as a Game Boy and a computer desk.
Scenic artist Karen McKenzie contributes a suitably fantastical background. It is a winter seascape that could be a collaboration between two artists, one from Victorian England and the other from 18th-century China.
December 12, 2006
By Brendan Killey
In a brawl, would: cute its enemies to death.
One half hour of 12 kiddies and two adults reciting and acting out the excellent Dylan Thomas poem, complete with flubbed lines, hot cider, scratchy violins, actors both exuberant and shy, and a dozen other irreproducibly cute, homey touches. Plus, the poem is great: “There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths… and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why.” It’s a tiny show in a tiny space, but it’s the best, least contrived, most stake-of-holly-to-your-heart Christmas show yet.