'Run-A-Way Orchestra' to feature instruments' antics

When writing a play that will capture the imaginations of children, who better to tap for ideas than a child?

That was Ric Averill's theory when he sat down his 6-year-old goddaughter and asked her how a violin, a clarinet and a tuba who ran off to the big city might get themselves in trouble.

"It was her idea that a bird's nest be planted in the tuba's horn," Averill said. "It was her idea that the violin that was very vain and proud of himself end up in the monkey's cage at the zoo."

Such are the fates of Victor the Violin, Chloe the Clarinet and Tallyrande the Tuba in the Seem-To-Be Player's production of Averill's "The Run-A-Way Orchestra," which will be staged at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 16 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

The play, geared toward younger patrons and their families, follows Victor, Chloe and Tallyrande on their adventure into New York. They decide to uproot when they discover their conductor is leaving for a career with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

On their journey into the city, the instruments get separated from one another, and each runs into its own predicament: A bird builds its nest in Tallyrande's bell; Chloe is converted into an antique lamp stand; and Victor gets trapped in a monkey cage at the zoo.

"The way that they get out of trouble is by using the strength that they bring to the orchestra," Averill said. "The tuba plays a bass note; the clarinet plays shimmery harmonies, rapid notes; and the violin plays a beautiful melody."

The play encourages individuals to use the gifts they're given. It also introduces children to the orchestra.

"When kids leave the theater, they will know what a violin sounds like, what a clarinet sounds like, what a tuba sounds like," Averill said.

The play is set to a score of classical music recorded by Kansas University faculty members.

What: Seem-To-Be Players production of "The Run-A-Way Orchestra."When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 16.Where: Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.Tickets: $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. Tickets may be bought at the Arts Center or by calling 843-ARTS.

Cast members are Tom Picasso as Victor the Violin, Heidi Van Middlesworth as Chloe the Clarinet, Ric Averill as Tallyrande the Tuba and Jason Ware as the Stick.

Averill is directing the show.

The Seem-To-Be Players are the resident children's theater company of the Arts Center. The players have produced original theater for Lawrence children and their families since 1973.


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