Monday, October 31, 2011

Isabel Silva | Bunnicula: A Post-Production Reflection

Growing up with three siblings, I was already familiar with Bunnicula’s veggie-sucking antics long before our Writing for the Arts class began back in August. I had heard my siblings rant and rave about how thrilled they were after reading each book in the series and about how they wanted to read about the adventures of Chester and Howard over and over again. Already a Bunnicula fan, I was excited when it was announced that we would be putting on a production of Bunnicula. Until then, I was not aware that the book had been adapted for the stage so I eagerly printed out my copy of the script to see what this play would be like.

I have to admit that upon first reading, I was skeptical. It bothered me a little that such a beloved book was going to be changed and twisted and put to music. My emotions were similar to those that most of us experience when a favorite book has just been made into a movie; we cringe and sigh, knowing that the movie could not possibly, in 90 short minutes, do justice to the on-paper story. With these concerns always in the back of mind, I continued my work for the production with the consolation that at least this would be something for the children to enjoy and that they would hopefully be encouraged to read the book once they had fallen in love with the theatre production.

This past Sunday afternoon I headed over to ArtsYOUniverse, excited that everything had finally come together but nervous to see what the play would do to my childhood memory of the vegetarian vampire with which I was so familiar. When I walked into the theatre, it was almost surreal to see all the different things about which we had been talking about for months, actually coming to life before my eyes. I saw the puppet, the programs, the Halloween-themed snacks and favors; everything that we had planned was being fulfilled at ArtsYOUniverse that weekend.

As the cast took to the stage for their second and final performance, all my doubts began to disappear. The characters were so engaging and so loveable that I could not help but be absorbed by all the vampire-bunny fun. I enjoyed the changes in the stage adaptation and I loved the endearing quality of the performances by the children. Although most of the actors were new to theatre, the enthusiasm and commitment that they brought to the show was infectious. I feel now that having Bunnicula produced for children’s theatre actually brings new life to the story. It adds an element of childhood innocence and inexperience that makes the beloved children’s book that much more memorable.

The play was funny and the kids were absolutely adorable. As I watched the performance, it made me happy to think about these kids and how influential a project like this is to their lives. By putting on this play, ArtsYOUniverse gave local children an opportunity to create their own art and share it with others. This, coupled with the fundraising efforts to benefit the library, really made this entire project worthwhile. I am so glad to have been able to be a part of it all and, although the project is over, I have hope that this is only the beginning of what will later be a tradition of children’s theatre and art brought to the community by ArtsYOUniverse.

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