Dallas Children’s Theater’s critically acclaimed national touring company travels coast-to-coast to as many as 50 cities annually with professional large-scale productions designed to stir the heart, stretch the mind and promote education. This year, DCT visited Alaska for the first time! Actor Ryan Page shares his thoughts on what it was like playing the Big, Bad Wolf in our northernmost state.
Q: How was the trip up there and back?
A: Long! That six-hour flight seemed to take forever for me. I couldn’t sleep on either flight. While everyone else was in dreamland, I was taking every beverage and snack that came by. Luckily, I had a book I read from cover-to-cover on the return trip, so the return flight went much better than the initial flight. Our airport experience with our “crates and barrels” (for set, props and costumes) was beastly, but with the help of shuttle and airport attendants we were able to get things done.
Q: Tell us about the weather and if you’ve ever experienced anything like Alaskan weather before.
A: The weather/climate was deliciously cold. I’ve spent the last 11 years in Texas and Florida, so I welcomed the chill. Anchorage sits right on the coast of Knik Arm. The cold breeze really chills you and you definitely need that big coat. I’ve experienced similar weather when I grew up in Montana, but that was so long ago and my blood is not as thick as it used to be. So, I couldn’t walk around like the Alaskan natives, with their hoodies and sneakers.
Q: Any differences with this stop compared to other cities in the States?
A: I tried to save money by buying groceries, even though we didn’t have a refrigerator in the hotel room. Our balconies served as our coolers, so no worries there. My castmates laughed at me because I had a whole cooked chicken that I nibbled on all week.
The venue that brought us to Alaska chose to maximize our time there by scheduling meet and greets, radio interviews, and special appearances. All that was new for us.
During the beginning of our very last show in Alaska, my pants ripped! It was a loud, cartoon-sounding pants rip! I didn’t know what to do because I never leave the stage at that point. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had to hide my STRIPED underwear from all the kiddos. So, I quickly stuffed my wolf tail down through the hole to help hide my drawers. Luckily, it worked out.
Q: How were the audiences?
A: Our audiences were great! We performed for the most children ever at a venue thus far on our tour – I believe the number being thrown around was 14,000 children! The children were passionate but respectful. When we had Q&A’s at the public performances, the audience members were inquisitive and very polite. They all seemed excited to have us all the way up in Alaska.
Q: What has been your favorite moment on the Tour (at any stop) so far?
A: My favorite moment was at the first venue in Palestine, Texas. As the speaker introduced our show, you heard all of the students scream! They were so excited to see us. I teared up a little. They hadn’t even seen our show yet and they were cheering us on. There seemed to be such anticipation. I also felt that we were doing something very powerful and inspirational that would be imprinted and left with students. It was a very precious moment realizing the innocence and promise of our audience.
Q: What is some of the feedback from children you might have heard? Any favorite quotes?
“I knew you were not guilty.”