Emerald City Theatre’s production of THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES by Ezra Jack Keats. Photo by Austin Oie.
Emerald City and new Artistic Director Jacqueline Stone unveiled their new mission statement following the opening of their original work THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES. Artistic professionals who seek to encourage young people to “creatively face the world”, especially in the current social and political climate, are a rarity and should be commended on their dedication to this tall order. Most parents succumb to cynicism regarding how their children should face the world and the answer is hardly ever “creatively.”
This particular production captured a sense of child naïveté, an effortless innocence, void of pretension and aforementioned cynicism, and for that, young audiences ought to delight in the hour long session of adults at play. And, of course, shadow puppets. The simplicity of this theatrical tool alone is capable of brewing storytelling magic.
The story itself isn’t incredibly conflict driven. We follow Peter, a boy with a loving family and good friends. His challenges in life range from learning to whistle to inviting the neighbor girl to his birthday party. And perhaps, for younger audiences, this is perfectly succinct. But ultimately, it’s hard to find the lessons if there are no hurdles and challenges. It’s the balancing act we do as parents — shelter our children from the evils of the world while trying to expose them to the realities that develop their life navigation tools. Growing up carefree while still managing to grow up.
It would be grand to help kids overcome these challenges creatively —even if the world they are facing reflects harsher realities than snowy days and birthday parties. I wish the new creative leadership at Emerald City happy explorations and a magical 20th season as they are off to an imaginative start and a beautiful mission. “Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.” -L.M. Montgomery.
February 7th, 2017