Whenever my kids are having a hard time at school or even while we’re out shopping, I get the same plea: “I wanna go home!” As annoying as that can be sometimes, it’s reassuring to know that home is a safe place, a place to go when they’re weary or sad. In choosing our theme for this season, we wanted to communicate that DCT is a place where kids and their families can feel at home. It is also a place that nurtures children as they seek to discover things about themselves. These wonderful plays and class experiences really spark something in young people in a way nothing else can.
It’s hard being a kid. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone who knows a kid, or for that matter, for anyone who has ever been a kid. We don’t have all the answers to every kid problem here at DCT, but our staff is dedicated to maintaining our connection to what it’s like to be a kid. In fact, this year as we were discussing our 2017-18 season, we spent a lot of time talking about our childhoods – our memories, how we would describe ourselves, and even the things that made our lives stink. Yeah, that’s seriously part of our jobs. And I’m going to share what we talked about.
Our first challenge was to remember our 4-8 year-old selves. Whoa, that was a long time ago! We always talk about that being an impressionable time for kids, but you really experience how impressionable it is when you see how quickly a group of adults are hit with vivid feelings and memories.
For some of us, it immediately ignited our imaginations as we remembered a high-spirited, rambunctious kid with good friends and bubbly personalities. But some of us reluctantly shared memories of an awkward, high-strung kid.
We talked about characters we relate to from our season of shows. You know, some of us are Charlie Browns and some of us are obviously Lucys. Some of us are swashbucklers like the characters in HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, and some of us build a cocoon like the hungry caterpillar.
Of course, some of us learn our life lessons at a young age like María in YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET who was struggling with her identity until she had an unexpected visit that changed her world. Then there is Mowgli in JUNGALBOOK who literally has to choose between the wild boy he had become with his animal friends and the reality of his humanness. Which was his true home?
One of our staff members mentioned having to move many times and having to change homes. This is stressful for a kid. We all want home to be a place where we feel settled and safe, and we realize that is not always feasible. We found that our plays represent that challenge to find home – not just the house but the feeling of security with our family, and who we really are as people.
It’s this discussion that led us to our theme of Finding the Way Home, and we hope that your family will join us in 2018 to further explore what home is for you. We know that experiencing a play with a young child can provide some of the best bonding time available, and we’re just betting that your kids would love to hear about what YOU were like in those young years! So tell us, Lucy or Charlie Brown?
Our next question was “What I Remember Most,” so I’ll share those secrets soon. It turns out we were pretty interesting kids, just like yours.
Sherry Ward is a mother, actor, and writer based in D-FW.
To learn more about DCT shows or to purchase tickets, go to dct.org/plays.
Great shows still to come…
THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW
Created by Jonathan Rockefeller
Produced in association with Rockefeller Productions
Based on four Eric Carle books
January 19 – February 25, 2018
Enjoyed by all ages
The illustrations of beloved children’s author Eric Carle leap from the page to the stage in a display of color and artistry like you’ve never seen before in this Southwest premiere. Visit the worlds of The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. DCT audiences are among the first to experience the larger-than-life world of 75 loveable puppets that will delight and captivate people of all ages. An Off-Broadway and London hit!
TEEN SCENE PLAYERS PRESENT
By Linda Daugherty
February 9 – February 18, 2018
Not suitable for children under 12
Fact: More than 50% of teens admit that they are addicted to their phones. They’re plugged in and often tuned out. In her new play, Linda Daugherty, DCT’s award-winning playwright-in-residence, explores the blurry lines between real life and life online. Cyber-bullying, explicit content and screen addiction impact the lives of a group of teens, leading to tragic consequences.
YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET
By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha
Music by Héctor Martinez Morales
Co-Produced with Cara Mía Theatre Company
March 23 – April 8, 2018
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Ten-year-old María is having trouble in school, so her mom sends her to stay with her Coahuiltecan grandmother in distant Laredo for discipline and perspective. There, María is told an ancient story of young Yana Wana who followed a revered deer to find water to save her people. Yana Wana’s story exposes an amazing and unknown ancestral connection to the bluebonnet that gives María a renewed sense of self and family pride. You may have read one version in school; now we invite you to come see the legend through the eyes of Yana Wana in this world premiere. A beautiful, original play that illustrates the power of heritage and the value of one’s own story – especially one as ancient as the petroglyphs of Texas.
By Annie Cusick Wood
April 21 – May 6, 2018
Recommended for squirmy toddlers and their families
Dallas Children’s Theater is proud to be part of the national effort to introduce more toddler-friendly theater experiences. A growing body of research speaks to the benefits of theater for the very young. BLUE is returning as part of this initiative while additional new works for these audiences continue to be developed.
Pale Blue and Inky Blue are very happy in their blueness. When a red sock enters their kitchen, Pale and Inky AND the audience are surprised by the way their world is turned upside down. This play introduces the idea of acceptance in an age-appropriate, soft-hearted theatrical experience. It is filled with fun, humor, and whimsy—and at the end of the show, you will be too!
An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories
By Edward Mast
May 4 – May 26, 2018
Recommended for ages 5 and up
See Kipling’s original 1894 coming of age tale brought to the stage, and join Mowgli in learning the moral lessons of home, betrayal, life and death, and loyalty. Mowgli lives in the jungle surrounded by panthers, bears, wolves, snakes, and tigers. They are his protectors, and he believes he is one of them. When Mowgli comes face to face with a fearsome tiger, he is forced to choose between his bond with the jungle and the reality of his humanness. This classic story of the struggle for survival and a place that feels like home will have audiences on the edge of their seats.
DCT’s NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION
HOW I BECAME A PIRATE
Book, Music & Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman
Based on the book by Melinda Long
Illustrations by David Shannon
June 15 – July 8, 2018
Recommended for ages 4 and up
Ahoy matey! It’s time to sail off on a swashbuckling musical excursion with Jeremy Jacobs and his new pirate friends. On board the ship, Jeremy travels to new worlds while learning the rules of pirate life, and searches for a place to bury their treasure. But it isn’t long before he misses his family and yearns for someone to tuck him in at night back home. A story of adventure and finding one’s own heart—a path that can’t be found on any map!