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Igniting Wonder

Igniting Wonder: Plays for Preschoolers

Peter Brosius
Elissa Adams
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Igniting Wonder
    Book Description:

    Young children love to explore their world through drama-characters, dialogue, story arcs, and props are all standard elements of a child's play. It is no surprise then that professional theatre has long been regarded as a way to support children's social-emotional, cognitive, and creative development. Increasingly, there is an international interest in theatre for very young audiences, and the Wall Street Journal reported on a "baby boom" in American theatre, with a marked upswing in the number of stage plays being written and produced for toddlers and preschoolers. Fueled by ongoing research into developmental psychology and theatre arts, the Children's Theatre Company (CTC) of Minneapolis presents in this book four of its newly commissioned plays for preschoolers. CTC is widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America; it received the 2003 Tony award for regional theatre, and Time magazine rated it the number one children's theatre in the United States. These four plays encompass a broad range of styles and subjects: Bert and Ernie, Goodnight! is a musical about Bert and Ernie's unlikely but true friendship, written by Barry Kornhauser and based on the original songs and scripts from Sesame Street. The Biggest Little House in the Forest is a toy-theatre play about a group of diverse animals trying to share a very tiny home, adapted by Rosanna Staffa from the book by Djemma Bider. The Cat's Journey is a dazzling shadow-puppet play with a little girl who rides on a friendly cat, written by Fabrizio Montecchi. And Victoria Stewart's Mercy Watson to the Rescue!, adapted from the Kate DiCamillo Mercy Watson series, is a comic romp featuring the inadvertent heroics of everyone's favorite porcine wonder. While these plays are as different as they could be, they all help young children to develop a moral compass and critical-thinking skills-while also showing them the power of the theatre to amaze, delight, and inspire.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8600-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    Amy Susman-Stillman
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Peter Brosius

    Many years ago at an international festival of theatre for young people in Vancouver, Canada, I happened to cajole my way into a sold-out performance of a preschool production by Sweden’s Dockteatern Tittut. The performance was beautifully done, funny, touching, surprising, and thoroughly delightful. What truly struck me, however, was the incredible focus of the audience. These preschoolers were rapt, completely captivated by the story and the wonderfully inventive puppeteering. There was a palpable energy in the room. I saw that this kind of work needed to happen in the United States. This young audience, this critical audience was not...

  5. Bert and Ernie, Goodnight!
    (pp. 1-38)
    Barry Kornhauser

    The curtain rises on the bedroom of the basement apartment of 123 Sesame Street, the home of ERNIE and BERT. The back wall has two windows, at least one of which (stage right) is open, although the drapes are closed on both. A painting of the two apartment mates hangs on the wall over a night table on which sits a lamp and a book. The beds’ headboards have the letter E (stage right bed) and B (stage left bed) carved in them. There is shelving stage left with lots of items including ERNIE’S rubber ducky, and the exit to...

  6. The Biggest Little House in the Forest
    (pp. 39-54)
    Rosanna Staffa

    NARRATOR: It was a beautiful day in the forest. When, all of a sudden . . .

    NARRATOR discovers a cocoon. The cocoon opens and BERNICE THE BUTTERFLY starts stretching her wings. An arpeggio accompanies the action.

    NARRATOR: A butterfly!

    BERNICE: I am Bernice, the butterfly.

    BERNICE flies, dreamy, studied, “I am a dancer.” A house appears.

    BERNICE: Look at that! A little house! A perfect pretty little house!

    (BERNICE tiptoes to the house.) I wonder who lives here? (BERNICE peeks inside.) NARRATOR: She peeked in and saw no one lived there.

    BERNICE: So many weeds! (The house is clearly...

  7. The Cat’s Journey
    (pp. 55-66)
    Fabrizio Montecchi

    In the lobby, the audience is welcomed by ACTORS A and B.

    A: Hi, and welcome to the theatre! \

    B: Here in our theatre it is very important that all children are sitting so that they can see well. If you grown-ups want to sit with the kids, that’s fine.

    B: But then you’ll have to sit a little farther back or on the sides. We can all help you get seated in there. [in the theatre]

    Everyone is ushered into the theatre and is seated.

    A: Look, I have a candle.

    B: You have to have that if...

  8. Mercy Watson to the Rescue!
    (pp. 67-127)
    Victoria Stewart

    MR. WATSON reads the paper in the kitchen. MRS. WATSON sets the table.

    MR. WATSON: Darling, this is a wonderful house for our family.

    MRS. WATSON: Yes it is, my dear.

    MR. WATSON: Just big enough for you, me, and Mercy.

    MRS. WATSON: The bed is perfect for her. Just her size.

    MR. WATSON: Watching her sleep last night—

    MRS. WATSON: She was so peaceful, snoring softly—

    MR. WATSON: Her little pink belly moving up and down.

    MRS. WATSON: Her lovely little snout twitching—

    MR. WATSON: What’s for breakfast, darling?

    They laugh heartily together.

    MRS. WATSON: What else would I...

    (pp. 128-132)
    (pp. 133-134)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 135-135)