Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

Roald Dahl’s Whoopsy-Spunkling Imagination

_KA18627Roald Dahl’s highly imaginative trademark writing style has whisked generations of readers into magical worlds. The “whizzcracklingly” wacky tale of THE BFG was Dahl’s personal favorite of his own works and is now home on the DCT stage after making its way across this country as this year’s national tour production.

Two local librarians took some time to talk to us about Roald Dahl and what makes him one of their all-time favorite writers. Christina Hudman is library associate at the Oak Lawn Public Library. Star Kulp is the Children’s Librarian at the Timber Glen Branch. They shared their expertise and their personal enthusiasm for Roald Dahl.

CHRISTINA: I love Roald Dahl because he makes ordinary life situ_KA34735ations with kids magical and wonderful and exciting, and just really come to life in a way that other authors don’t. He’ll take you on adventures that you never thought you’d go on, and he’ll create great characters that will stay with you forever, because his stories are just amazing. They take you to places you never thought you’d go.

STAR: I love Roald Dahl because he creates worlds that are extraordinary, but you don’t even second guess the strange things that happen there because they just make sense to the story. My favorite Roald Dahl story is CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I love that world he created where this poor little boy could be exposed to the magic. But it was not even magic. It’s a world you believe in. Roald Dahl’s writing is different, and children w_KA35016ill be interested because he will take them to different worlds – a world where a giant is friendly, who gathers dreams to give to children, and a world where a boy can fit inside a peach pit and travel around the world. There’s no logic to his books, but they’re so much fun.

Both library professionals are eager to see how THE BFG comes to life on stage – what the Giant and his world will look like, and how Sophie will be transported to his world. We also discussed how some of Dahl’s writing is sometimes scary or even dark.

CHRISTINA: Just because something’s dark doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. I like a lot of dark humor and dark stories. I think assuming kids always want happy, and always have happy,… kids experience a lot of emotions, and I think Dahl touches on a lot of emotions that other authors don’t touch.

_KA34963STAR: I think kids are a whole lot smarter and with it than we think they are. We can expose them to things that may be dark, but they’re going to see the light in it because kids are positive, and they’ll find the light in any dark that shows up.

 

Every time THE BFG came up, a smile immediately crept to Christina’s face, letting us know that, like Dahl, it is a personal favorite.

CHRISTINA: I got to read THE BFG in third grade. Up until then I really had a hard time reading and didn’t really have a good time reading. It was the first story I really connected to and really, really enjoyed reading. Ever since then, all of his other books have been really important to me. I just love it because the giant that you’re supposed to be scared of, and you are scared of at first, turns out to be this loveable, heartwarming creature. It’s just a great story.

Our library friends compared Dahl’s creativity to that of children who are not bound by logic and what is possible. Star mentioned how quickly we accept OompaLoompas as a real part of a world made of candy, and how wonderful it is for adults to also get swept up into these worlds. We at DCT look forward to making Giantland a reality for Dallas families this spring.

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THE BFG runs April 29 – May 22.

We promise that it will be a Phizz-Whizzing experience!

Tickets and more information.

Karl Schaefer, M.D. (Moonlighting Doctor)

 

KarlThe longtime member of DCT writes prescriptions for laughter on and off the stage.

As the first employee back in 1984 at the Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) and a current artist-in-residence, Karl Schaefer has spent more than three decades applying his unique talent, unyielding energy and impeccable comic timing to countless DCT productions.

His art will shine for the second straight season in the DCT production of BALLOONACY – running tonight through May 1.

As if juggling everything at DCT wasn’t enough, Karl threw one more ball into the mix. Last fall, he took on the role of a doctor. Or was it a clown? It actually was both. Karl is among the newest members of the Funnyatrics Clown Program at Children’s HealthSM – a nine-member clown troupe dedicated to making life better and a little funnier for children.

“When I first saw Funnyatrics at a clown workshop, I knew I had to be part of the fun,” says Karl. “I’ve been blessed with a career that allows me to interact with people, especially young people. But as a member of Funnyatrics, I get to connect with children in a way I never have before.”

As Dr. Fred Frivolous in the Funnyatrics clown troupe, Karl and his very big shoes walk the halls of Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Plano, visiting patients and making a difference. He uses his many talents to bring some serious joy to kids who are going through some serious medical issues. Whether it’s a little juggling, a funny joke, some magic or an upbeat musical ditty, Karl plays an important role in the healing process by offering kids an outlet – to just be kids.

“Working with the team and the patients at Children’s Health is a reality check,” adds Karl. “I’ve never been more grateful for everything that I have. It feels good to know that Children’s Health is committed to brightening a child’s day with great programs like Funnyatrics, as well as art, music and pet therapy programs.”

And now Karl’s full-time and part-time gigs are coming full circle. Children’s Health is a proud supporter of the DCT and a sponsor of the 2016 production of BALLOONACY.

“I’m looking forward to continuing my role at DCT and my new role as Dr. Fred Frivolous, the clown who writes prescriptions for joy,” exclaims Karl.

After all, sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

 

Balloonacy-endcard

BALLOONACY
By Barry Kornhauser

Back by Popular Demand

April 15 – May 1, 2016

Recommended for ages 2 and up

www.dct.org

Grown-ups Share How Edward Tulane Impacted Them

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo is for readers young and old. Life changes can be hard to accept at times. As humans, we underappreciate the value of looking outside of self and being present for whatever experience life puts before us. To think that adults might be inspired to treasure deeper connections with all people by a toy rabbit is a strange idea. But, in THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, we are all reminded that being present and supportive of others is sometimes the path to the life of our dreams.

Ed Tulane - With AbileneGeorgiana Shelekov is the VP of Education on DCT’s Board of Directors. She told us about her fond memories of reading the book with her children when they were in elementary school.

The author, Kate DiCamillo, writes about emotional issues without underestimating her audience—mature feelings are dealt with in a straightforward manner that all children, and adults, can understand. Relatively speaking, that’s a rarity in books for children this age. Descriptions of people who come and go in Edward’s life are concise, yet evocative and complete. 

Both the reader and Edward come to see the power of hope and love in the Ed Tulane - With Fishermanworld. Edward’s journey, in many ways, mirrors the growth of our children and youth as they go through their evolution.

DCT’s Communications team hosted a staged reading of the script for our Journeymaker families, but also invited special guests like Sarah Eppes, friend of Board President, Carol March. Sarah said she was not emotionally prepared for the depth of the storytelling in this play:

I spent most of the night trying not to cry. For me, the core of what good theater is, is a well-written and emotionally compelling story. The reading was a good way to introduce a newer children’s story to those who wouldn’t know it.

June Dales, special guest of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE director Artie Olaisen, first read the book to her children nine years ago, and it immediately became her favorite book of all time.

Ed Tulane - Being Repaired by LuciusIt’s funny how reading a book about a toy rabbit touched me emotionally in so many different ways. Edward started his life sitting in front of a mirror, admiring himself with no margin for other people. And life seems so focused on a ‘me, me, me’ attitude these days. This book really teaches that you have to be present. And honestly, sometimes you must force yourself to be open to change.

Both the play and the book about Edward Tulane are full of hope and truth about life. Through book author Kate DiCamillo and playwright Dwayne Hartford’s words, both kids and adults are able to look at their lives the same way Edward did; by realizing that sometimes you have to hit bottom in life before you can get better.

Embarking on your own miraculous journey begins at DCT! Join us for a performance of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, running until April 10. Reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at 214-740-0051 or visit dct.org.

Illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline
You can find out more about Bagram Ibatoulline at the Candlewick Press website, http://www.candlewick.com.
Illustrations copyright © 2006 Bagram Ibatoulline.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

ISBN 0-7636-2589-2.

 

EdwardTulane

 

KATE DiCAMILLO’S

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Adapted by Dwayne Hartford

Running through April 10, 2016

Recommended for ages 7 and up

www.dct.org