Monday, March 09, 2009

Maria Caprile on *Terabithia*

The Spokane Children's Theater production of *Bridge to Terabithia* runs through March 22 at SCC's Lair Student Auditorium. Visit

Q&A with SCT's Maria Caprile (since director Reed McColm is apparently not returning my e-mails -- bad boy, Reed, bad!)

Bobo: Does name recognition from the movie help or hurt you at the box office?
Maria Caprile: Name recognition is the No. 1 factor on show attendance for Spokane Children's Theatre whether or not there is a movie attached! In fact, the book *Bridge to Terabithia* is required reading for many classes in Spokane Public Schools. This play was written by the author of the book, Katherine Paterson and is much more true to the book. It's even set in the early 1970s, which lends much to the feelings of ostracization and difference between the characters due to the changing times.

The movie offered special effects; your show augments the action with songs. But don't kids respond more to visuals than to melodies?
A lot of people don't realize what different mediums film and stage are. I thought it was perfectly appropriate to show the fantasy creatures of *Terabithia* in the film, even though that doesn't happen in the book at all. The book (and play) is really much more about feelings of "otherness" and how friendship can be a saving grace for children of a certain age. Visuals are much better at portraying magic but music is much more conducive to portraying emotion.

What's likely the most crowd-pleasing song? (and its dramatic context, theme, singers and some sample lyrics, just to give a taste) Same question for the musical number that has proven to be the most complicated to stage, and why.
There is a charming faux-folk song, "Differences" sung by the lovely Sarah Miller as Miss Edmonds, the pretty teacher everyone has a crush on. She accompanies herself on guitar with the assistance of Bryton Martin (who plays the main character, Jesse). The audience will be humming this one on the way home!

"If every song had just one note and that one note was C,
If every book had just one word and that one word was 'Me'
There'd be no difference and what are differences for?
Without a difference the world would be a bore!"

This song is taught to the entire class on the day that Leslie, the outsider from the big city, makes her appearance. And, naturally, both Jesse and Leslie think that Miss Edmonds chose the song specifically for them since they both see themselves as being "different" as so many kids do at this age!

If you had to pick just one, which of the following themes does *Terabithia* portray most effectively, and why? — growing up, being independent, dealing with bullies, using your imagination, making friends, dealing with adversity, reveling in reading, fending off despair
While there is a bit of everything in this show, "growing up" hits the nail on the head.

[ photo: Katherine Paterson; her Website is here. ]

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