Everyone remembers the delightful little puppet that came to life in the workshop of Gepetto, the woodcarver. Now, everyone will have the chance to see Pinocchio learn what it means to be a real boy.
The Albuquerque Children’s Theatre will present “Pinocchio” from Aug. 1 to 4 at the Albuquerque Little Theatre.
Pinocchio wants to be a real, live boy who can run down the cobblestone streets with his friends and play stickball without fear of cracking a leg. But the path to achieving his wishes is filled with great dangers for the young puppet.
In Amanda Thrush’s adaptation of the familiar story, Pinocchio’s father, Gepetto, other children and even the shop full of toys that magically come to life try to help him find the truth. On Pinocchio’s journey, he learns about life’s joys, lessons and temptations, as well as how to escape from the villainous Fox and Cat.
Pinocchio confronts the evil Mastroni and the dangers of Pleasure Island. With the help of the Blue Fairy and the ever-patient Gepetto, he learns that it takes honesty to become real.
This delightful production is directed by Albuquerque Children’s Theatre Director Sue Ann Gunn and features the talents of the ACT Junior and Senior Companies. The performers, age 7 to teenagers, will captivate the audience with Pinocchio’s world after a long summer of rehearsals.
“One of the most exciting things for me about this production is that our younger actors invented their own characters,” Gunn said. “Our younger actors all play toys who come alive in Gepetto’s workshop. We wanted an old-fashioned feeling to it. I hope the audience will see that the kids are working their hearts out.”
In this adaptation of “Pinocchio,” the play begins as Gepetto finishes a new doll. At midnight, all the puppets and toys wake up and tell the new doll about the story of Pinocchio.
Gunn said the company’s new technical director, Ken Finke, created a very large book that the toys flip through as each scene begins.
“This is a one-hour show which will be concise and to the point,” Gunn said. “It’s a good way for a parent to talk about the moral aspects of the show — questions about is it OK to lie and how to resist peer pressure.
“It’s colorful, lively and funny, but the message is there,” Gunn said.
Gunn has been the director at Albuquerque Children’s Theater since the fall of 1989, when founder Bill Hayden passed away. Gunn, who was Hayden’s assistant for five years, has a master’s degree in theater.
Born in central Texas, Gunn moved to New Mexico for a second time in 1982. She also lived in Albuquerque for a few years in the early 1970s.
Immediately after graduate school, Gunn, who said she never intended to teach children, moved to England, where she taught theater at a local school.
“The school needed a youth music teacher, and, because theater was my first love, I wrote musicals for them,” Gunn said. “When I came to Albuquerque, I wrote my first and only professional play.”
“The Most Marvelous News” is a light comedy and was very popular in dinner theaters, Gunn said.
All performances of “Pinocchio” will be presented on the main stage at the Albuquerque Little Theatre, located at 224 San Pasquale SW. (It’s one block south and east of Rio Grande and Central, near Old Town.)
The play will be performed Thursday and Friday, Aug. 1 and 2, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4, at 2 p.m. each day.
Tickets are $5. Advance ticket sales for groups of 20 or more are $3. Call the Albuquerque Little Theatre Box Office at 242-4750 for reservations and information, or call 1-800-905-3315.
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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.