Hundreds of summer school, summer camp and after school program kids sat at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre to witness an exciting rendition of the classic tale and to take part in an exhilarating learning experience with InterActive Theatre’s “Pinocchio” play.
InterActive Theatre likes to tell both familiar and original stories while allowing their young audience to help tell the story’s narrative and have done so since 1998.
InterActive somewhat keeps true to Pinocchio’s story, a wooden puppet who aspires to be a real boy, and throughout the play the cast pick out the little volunteers from the audience and have them hop on stage.
The giant stage of the outdoor theatre downplays InterActive’s small and uninteresting set: a colorful, yet boxed curtain that actors use to pass through and go around and a prop box, both of which are placed in the center.
“Pinocchio” is known for having memorable settings throughout its story so it was sad to see that there was no extra flare added to the stage in order to enhance the scenery.
Knowing that InterActive is capable of better stage presentation in their other plays, their edition of “Pinocchio” is slightly disappointing in the visual department.
The crew makes up for it with their stage presence though.
Through them, reliving the story of Pinocchio is very exciting.
The small cast of five interchange between different characters while using eccentric accent, clothing and movements that allow children to enjoy Pinocchio, Geppetto, the Fairy and other characters that they know and love.
The small changes in the story such as “Toyland” being renamed to “Funland” and missing scenes of Catchfool city and the weasel trap are noticeable but not critical to the point that it harms the overall experience.
“Pinocchio” is known for its hidden moral teachings about the value of a school education and telling the truth, and the cast chimes into those elements very well, especially during the Funland-donkey scene.
The young audience and their parents were very receptive and impressed. Still, the play would have been near perfect if the cast had used the entire stage.
Despite the splendid rework of an old child’s tale, InterActive Theatre should rethink presenting any of their plays at the Miller Outdoor Theatre.
The humid weather can ruin the feel if you are not seated under the giant, air-conditioned shade.
InterActive Theatre makes learning about the story of “Pinocchio” feel new and authentic, but their lack of visual stage production and poor venue choice can damage part of the experience.
InterActive Theater will be performing “Pinocchio” again at 6 p.m. Friday at the Bellaire Parks and Recreation Center.