Halloween is upon us and once again…Geordie is producing a show to thrill kids and adults alike. If you remember reading Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree you’ll want to set aside a date to take in Amanda Kellock’s (Artistic Director of Repercussion Theatre) adaptation of the book to the stage.
Bradbury’s book was actually meant as a screenplay for a production that was to be a collaboration with Chuck Jones. It was finally turned into an animated piece, narrated by Bradbury for television that ended up winning an Emmy.
A group of boys are preparing to go out trick-or-treating on Halloween but their friend Joe Pipkin isn’t able to join them. He is off on his own journey – one in which he will live or…die. The boys pursue Joe through time and space through many different cultures. This is what Geordie is so very good at. Nothing that they put on stage is done gratuitously – the boys travel through ancient countries and cultures picking up the meanings of Halloween along the way. (You always come out of a Geordie production with a bit more knowledge than before you went in!)
Kellock is excited about this project and has always wanted to present the book as a play. “It was about more than just the spooky and commercialized Halloween that we know. It really kind of dug into what other cultures overtime have done to honour or deal with death, or warding off an evil spirit.”
In other words it is about more than what goes bump in the night…It can also be about love. Perhaps the love of a group of kids for their mate who has gone missing.
The play works for kids anywhere between ages 8 and 13. It’s a little like Stranger Things, a series based on kids but reaches out to adults as well. Fans of Bradbury will be pleased to see that Kellogg has not strayed from the original intent of the book – with one minor exception. “In a book you can follow a group of people but in this play we concentrate on and develop the individual characters a bit more.”
Geordie is inviting the audience on a journey with them to unravel the mystery of Halloween, and the mystery that unfolds in the search for Joe Pipkin.
But Kellock also suggests a far deeper philosophy. “How can we fully embrace life if we also don’t acknowledge death. Life and Death are interconnected. This play seems like a playful/honest and magical way to start a conversation about living life to its fullest – valuing the people we hold dear and marveling at all the life around us. This is ultimately a story about friendship and about living each day as though it could be your last.”
Add to all that some of Geordie’s own creative magic and you know the show is going to be good!
People are welcome to arrive at the show dressed up for Halloween – or not.
The Halloween Tree plays at the D.B. Clarke Theatre from October 21 to the 30.
For tickets and more informationIn: 514-845-9810 or www.geordie.ca
By: Sharman Yarnell – totimes.ca