Adventure Stage Chicago
1012 N. Noble St., Chicago
March 24-April 26
Recommended for kids 9-14
Move over, Hunger Games.
The young adult book of the moment is everywhere right now, but
it's certainly not the first novel to explore a dystopian society.
Take Lois Lowry's The Giver, which has been read-and beloved-by
kids for nearly 20 years.
The tale, which examines a boy's realization that his "Perfect"
world isn't quite what he thinks, is the latest to come to
Adventure Stage Chicago.
"It's one of those books that becomes kind of a watershed moment
for a lot of young people," says the show's director, Brian Bell.
"The story itself is kind of tried-and-true, and one we knew would
be a good draw for our audience."
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Of course, adapting a beloved book to the stage doesn't come
without challenges. Bell says some of the more fantastical elements
of the story are difficult to portray. But he says the version the
theater is using makes the text "come alive on stage"-including
using a puppet to portray a baby-turned-toddler.
As with any dystopian story, The Giver has faced its fair share
of controversy for openly discussing issues like free will,
identity and diversity. Bell sees it as a "jumping-off point" for
parents and kids for conversation about those issues.
"I think it's really important because it teaches kids the
importance of questioning," Bell says. "That's why it's such a
powerful story and why people connect with it in a small way."
The theater even proposes a few questions for the audience to
ponder. After every performance, there is a "talk-back" session
with the cast to discuss such quandaries as:
What is the price of free will?
Is ignorance really bliss?
What do I do if there's something wrong and I'm the only one who
But for all its great discussion-starters, the show isn't just
about thinking deep, philosophical thoughts. It's also about seeing
a favorite story and its characters truly come alive before your
"It's a lot of fun and it's really pulling no punches, either,"
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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