Sunday, February 16, 2003
Most children threaten to run away at one time or another. Come to think of it, the thought of leaving it all behind to move on to bigger and better things is appealing to everyone, not just children.
In the Seem-To-Be Players' production of "The Run-A-Way Orchestra," Victor the Violin (Tom Picasso), Chloe the Clarinet (Heidi Van Middlesworth) and Tallyrande the Tuba (Ric Averill) decide to run away after they find out the conductor of Symphony Hall is leaving for bigger and better orchestras in New York.
The three take off for the big city to land jobs with another orchestra or on their own. But when they quickly get separated, they find out just how much they need each other and how much they long for the comforts of Symphony Hall.
During the children's show, written by Seem-To-Be Players' artistic director Ric Averill, the audience learns the role each instrument plays in the orchestra.
Averill plays the part of Tallyrande the Tuba marvelously. He speaks slowly and lowly, capturing well the character of a tuba. Middlesworth's petite frame and high voice bring Chloe the Clarinet to life. Picasso as Victor the Violin is articulate and snobby, as one might imagine a violin would be.
But the show stealer is Jason Ware as Stick. Much like the Ghost of Christmas Future in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Stick shows up to inform each of the instruments that their situations will get worse before they get better. This leads to a surprising end to the play.
Ware also plays other characters -- from a monkey to a taxi driver -- and brings a unique personality to each.
The sets -- simple, colorful, movable, life-size storyboards -- are effective, and the actors do a wonderful job keeping the young audience engaged in the action and teaching the play's moral: Be happy with what you have.
-- Meredith Carr is a Kansas University journalism student.