Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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Jack Hannan, far right, as James in "James and the Giant Peach," and the play's cast of insects hatch a plan during a rehearsal for the YAP production to be staged this week.
October 08, 2013
DALLAS -- The mission of Young Artists Playtrium (YAP) is building confidence and self-esteem through art.
The Dallas organization strives to provide children with opportunities to experience performance art through after-school programs. Recently, though, it has begun to branch out, including community members of all ages in its productions.
This weekend's staging of "James and the Giant Peach" at Dallas High School will be YAP's first "community show." It seems fitting, given the theme of the play based on Roald Dahl's famous children's book.
"We thought that it really fit YAP's mission, which is to feel confident, and (have) self esteem, and believe in yourself," said Darcie Chin, the play's director. "That is what `James and the Giant Peach' is all about -- a little boy who is lonely, sad and scared. Through some obstacles he goes into this peach and becomes the leader without trying. He becomes stronger and more confident and more of himself."
The play will be the first for some in the cast.
"It's not like super serious," said Malena Thackeray, a first-time actor who plays Ladybug. "It's just a really fun way to get people involved."
The story centers around James Henry Trotter, who is orphaned at a young age and sent to live with his two aunts, Spiker and Sponge, in the English countryside. Their caretaking qualities leave much to be desired. For years they have him perform chores all day, don't allow him to play and sometimes don't bother to feed him.
But a mysterious character, the "Little Old Man," takes notice and helps James. He gives him a magic bag and the recipe for a potion for happiness. On his way home, James trips and spills the contents of the bag on his aunts' old peach tree. It magically sprouts a peach -- that won't stop growing.
Curious James decides to explore the enormous peach and meets a gang of oversized insects living in it. From there the adventure begins.
"Unbelievable and marvelous things happen, just like he (the Little Old Man) said," said 12-year-old Jack Hannan, who plays James.
In the end, the occupants of the peach find themselves far from home.
"At the end there is a lot of hope," Malena Thackeray said. "You are starting a whole new life. You aren't stuck up on a hill anymore with those nasty people."
What: "James and the Giant Peach."
When: Thursday through Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Dallas High School's Little Theater, 1250 SE Holman Ave., Dallas.
Admission: $4. Tickets are available at the Dallas School District Office, 111 SW Ash St., or at the door.
For more information: www.yaplaytrium.org.