By Marilyn Delk
An acclaimed theatre company based in Leeds, United Kingdom that tours internationally will take the stage at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville on Sunday, Feb. 19 to perform The Ugly Duckling as part of Darke County Center for the Arts’ Family Theatre Series. If that statement does not entice you to see the show, well, just wait—there’s more! Lauded as joyful and timeless, this Tutti frutti production of Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known classic tale has drawn acclaim for “showing the art of the possible” in a “dramatic experience that’s completely new” at its home base York Theatre Royal. Tutti frutti (yes, that’s the theatre company’s fun-filled name) has created high-quality, inventive theatre performances for children and their families for over thirty years, and has a reputation for imaginative, inspired, and meaningful productions. And you can experience the wonder of it all for the low, low cost of just $5 per ticket!
Following the traditional well-known plot line, The Ugly Duckling opens at the edge of a pond where Mother Duck and her adorable offspring eagerly await the arrival of a new family member; however, the grey and gangly creature who finally hatches out of an enormous egg looks nothing like his fluffy yellow siblings, who trick him into leaving his loving mother and the nest. Needless to say, adventures ensue.
As the action moves through the seasons, our hero, dubbed “Ugly” by his supposed siblings, moves from scene to scene, encountering a menagerie of mischievous animals who ultimately contribute to the bird’s discovery of his true identity; vibrant characterisations and delightful plot twists generate a broad array of responses from the audience, including quite a few smiles, chuckles, and belly laughs. According to critics, award-winning playwrite Emma Reeves has crafted a lovely family show that preserves the central moral of the original story in an entertaining and accessible manner.
A play has the ability to jump a story off the page, springing to life before one’s eyes, ultimately becoming a source of inspiration and wonder. In addition to jumpstarting imaginations, attending theatre performances can also lengthen children’s attention spans, which are often limited by TV and video games to expecting new images every 3 to 4 seconds. Exposure to theatre has been shown to benefit children of all socio-economic levels, producing flexible minds and new ideas and resulting in improved academic performance as well as enhanced community involvement. The lasting value of theatre experience can be summed up in this illuminating statement from certified genius Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Research has shown that the arts generally help build strong families by offering shared positive experiences that encourage the expression and exchange of ideas, an asset ultimately benefitting communities and the nation. In addition to these weighty, impressive facts, DCCA’s Family Theatre Series is full of fun, and available at an amazingly low cost. Bottom line—get your tickets to see Tutti frutti’s delightful production of The Ugly Duckling now; you and your family will share a wothwhile experience while enjoying a really good time!
Contact DCCA at 937-547-0908, on-line at www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or at DCCA’s office on the third floor of Greenville Public Library; office hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1-3 pm. Tickets may also be purchased at the front desk of Greenville Public Library, and are on sale at Readmore’s Hallmark in downtown Greenville, as well as Corner Cupboard in Union City and Versailles Public Library, and, if any remain by showtime, will be available at the box office immediately prior to the show which starts at 2 p.m.