NU stages the sophisticated ‘Flat Stanley’ for kids
“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley”
The play will be staged at the Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. The production will include workshops after the 10 a.m. Saturday performance.
Updated: March 15, 2013 12:44PM
More than a little bit of Stanley Lambchop exists in every child, believes David Catlin, director of “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley.”
In the Northwestern University children’s theater production, the character Stanley uses getting flattened by a bulletin board to pursue his dreams to travel the world and do something unique. Along the way, he discovers something is missing.
“Part of it is that he has this adventure,” Catlin said. “He basically goes off by himself. For kids there are times in their lives where they start with their families and then go off on adventures.
“They might be going to preschool, kindergarten, camp. It’s a little lonely, and I think they can identify with that. There is a process they go through where it’s lonely and they’re a little bit sad.”
The sophisticated children’s play, which runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of the Imagine U Family Series at the Theatre and Interpretation Center at the Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, takes young viewers through challenge, adventure, sadness, and joy.
Like Stanley, whose stage character is based on a series of books launched in 1964, most children can relate to the whole gamut of emotions he experiences in the play, Catlin said.
“They realize the world out there can be great,” he said. “Then part of the process is recognizing how great it is to come home. It’s a new way of looking at the world.”
Lynn Thompson Kelso, the artistic director for Imagine U, recommended the play to Catlin, whose own children participated in Flat Stanley projects in elementary school, he said.
“Lynn got me to read it and I found it really charming and sweet,” Catlin said. “I recalled my daughters’ experience in first or second grade. I loved the sense that when they went through the project, their worlds opened up a little bit. They could begin to have empathy for people who lived far away.”
The 10 a.m. performance on Saturday includes a workshop afterwards in which children will be invited to get on stage and take part in dramatic games intended to help them think about the story in different ways, he said.
The play is recommended for children ages 5-10 and their families. After each performance children may meet members of the Northwestern undergraduate student cast.
Audience members are encouraged to bring their “Flat Stanley” books to be signed by the cast. Take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games will be given to all children in the audience.~.