C2C brings stories to life

Tara Bradbury
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Troupe performs plays from famous children’s author Robert Munsch

Jenn Furlong (foreground), Willow Kean, Katie Butler and Chris Driedzic perform a scene from a Robert Munsch book.

Have you ever had a subway station suddenly appear in your living room?

C2c Theatre has, and its members are inviting kids of all ages to come and see it during their production of “More Munsch!” at the Basement Theatre in the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre this month.

This is the third year the theatre company has produced a collection of short plays based on stories by renowned Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch, but the first time for these particular ones, which include “Mmm, Cookies!” and “Jonathon Cleaned Up — Then He Heard a Sound,” which were adapted for the stage by Kim McCaw.

The production sees characters Benjamin, Cindy, Sheila and Tyya, played by Chris Driedzic, Jenn Furlong, Willow Kean and Katie Butler, acting out the stories, complete with sound effects.

Something that makes the stories so adaptable for the stage is they were originally tales Munsch told to children, before writing them down and turning them into books. As a result, they have a natural rhythm and performance element, said director Sandy Gow.

“(Munsch) has a good sense of play, and a good sense of silliness,” she said. “He also uses a lot of repetition, which is great for us, because when we repeat lines or refrains, it encourages the children to join us.”

The set for the show is minimal, and consists only of four multi-coloured foam blocks and five different coloured panels, which the cast uses as walls, doors, a bathtub, a shopping cart and a subway car, among other things.

“We wanted to be able to play and explore the way children do,” explained Gow. “It gives us a huge amount of freedom, because everything has to be imagined or suggested.”

The show’s underscore was composed by Driedzic, who’s also a musician, using a combination of unique instruments like a thunder stick and instruments borrowed from his four-year-old daughter’s toybox, like a small piano and glockenspiel.

The goal is to make the plays and music easy for children to recreate at home, Gow said.

“More Munsch!” opened Wednesday night and runs Thursdays through Sundays at 4p.m. and 7p.m. until Dec. 19. Tickets are $10 for children and students and $15 for adults, and are available at the Arts and Culture Centre box office or by calling 729-3900.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com     Twitter: tara_bradbury

Organizations: C2c Theatre, Basement Theatre

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