When Chicago Shakespeare Theater premieres "The
Adventures of Pinocchio" as part of its Family Series this summer,
you won't find a stage version of the Disney movie. According to
Creative Producer Rick Boynton, the company will turn its Courtyard
Theater stage into a larger-than-life Old World marionette theater
for this new musical adaptation. Considering that Carlo Collodi's
classic tale tells the story of a wooden puppet who longs to be a
boy, the use of puppetry makes perfect sense.
In development, Boynton and the rest of the creative team
found themselves asking, "What is it about puppets that Pinocchio
doesn't want to be?"
By staging the show among the inner workings of a puppet
theater, they could explore the relationship of puppet master to
puppet. Likewise, the audience experiences seamless shifts from
live actors portraying Geppetto and Pinocchio to different kinds of
puppets taking over the storytelling.
"Some of the play is better told through puppets. We hope
to draw audiences in and then transition to live actors," says
When deciding on shows for the Family Series, CST looks
for stories that are familiar to families, but also worth exploring
anew. In the case of "Pinocchio," Boynton says, "The original book
has a bit of a dark quality, but still with a bit of playfulness.
We've incorporated both sides." The production will keep Collodi's
series of vignettes, allegorical tales in which Pinocchio learns
lessons about obeying his father and doing the right
Boynton says the show will be enjoyable for both children
"Theater that is appropriate and good for children must be
the same for adults. It needs to work on many levels," he
With the excellent team assembled and the history of
success for CST's Family Series, "The Adventures of Pinocchio" is
sure to be this summer's "don't miss" family show.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.
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