Childsplay kid reporter: Young and old alike will enjoy ‘The Giver’ - East Valley Tribune: Performance

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Childsplay kid reporter: Young and old alike will enjoy ‘The Giver’

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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 6:15 am

Imagine a world without color, without hunger, and without pain. This is the futuristic world of “The Giver,” written by Lois Lowry. But now, this wonderful classic is brought to life on the Childsplay stage.

After talking with Andrés Alcalá, the director, I am absolutely excited to attend this show. He told me about how he will be using technology and even how he helped develop the original play in Oregon.

Using innovative technology, (Alcalá) will bring the audience into the world of Jonas (the main character). You might even see yourself on a screen at the beginning! There will even be an instance when a table will turn into a sled and seem to move toward the seats as a memory is recalled. To me, that sounds like the most exciting part.

At the start of the tale, Jonas’ world seems perfect. There is nothing wrong with it; the weather is constant, no one is hungry, and everyone is happy with the same consistency. But after he is assigned the role of the Giver’s apprentice, he learns more about the truths of his community.

“As [Jonas] learns more about ... lies and his father, his world starts crumbling around him,” says Alcalá.

I read the book recently, and the thought of putting it in a play is so intriguing. It almost sounds impossible, with all of the technology and differences in the time, but I bet having an excellent cast helps a lot.

“I tried to get a creative group who can understand more than what’s in the script,” relates Alcalá.

For Jonas, he needed someone who could change emotions quickly, and that person is Adrian Hernandez, who stars as Jonas.

Also featuring Dwayne Hartford as the Giver, Kaleena Newman as Rosemary/Fiona, Michelle Cunneen as Lily, Debra K. Stevens as Mother, and Louis Farber as Father, this is sure to be a hit.

Alcalá hopes that the audience will walk away with the feeling that they have the ability of freedom, choice, and real love.

As children, having the ability to know and choose what we want to be when we grow up is very different (from) Jonas’ situation. While we can choose, Jonas and kids his age are watched their whole life to see what job would fit them best.

The feeling and mood of this play is very far away and vague.

“I try to make it not too cartoony and not too real, but more abstract, like it’s in the distance,” says Alcalá.

When it all adds up, this is a sure recipe for a successful, meaningful play that can sum up the true meaning of love, family, choice, and standing up for oneself.

There is no doubt that everyone, young and old will enjoy it — I can’t wait to see the surprises this has in store! Just come on out to Tempe Center for the Arts! No, wait — just come on out to Jonas’ world!

If you go

What: “The Giver,” a novel beloved by kids and teachers for years, comes to the stage in a moving adaptation that reveals what it means to grow up and take charge of your own future. It’s best for kids age 9 and older.

When: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 21 through Nov. 11

Where: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway

Cost: Tickets start at $12

Information: (480) 350-2822 or

• This article was originally published by Childsplay, a theater company specializing in productions for young audiences and families.It is part of Childsplay’s Kid Reporter program, in which four local youngsters ages 7-12 write reviews of performances of the 2012-13 season. The reporters also get an exclusive backstage tour and interview with cast members. For more information, visit

About the author: Lizzie Stewart, 12, of Chandler: Mix some singing and playing the piano in a bowl, and add some reading and writing. Bake it in music for 12 years, and when it’s done, pour some French on it. And for serving, maybe sprinkle on some imagination. Put it all together, and you have a recipe that makes a Lizzie Stewart. She is a spirited 12 year old who cannot live without writing and acting. She’s thrilled to be a Kid Reporter for Childsplay since her dream is to write a book and have it published someday. Being a Kid Reporter is the icing on the cake!

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