Adapted from a short story, “The Princess Without Pots” asks a lot of its audience.
Mostly, it asks a lot of the adults in its audience.
Writer and director Maria Burnham–who penned the original short story in Spanish and then translated the script to English–says she added liner notes to future casting directors to put anyone in any role he or she is qualified for.
Which is why the production opening June 9 has a female playing the role of a male. It would be the same if the title character, Cristina, were handing out roles to her pals on the playground.
“When kids play, when they reenact shows that they watch on TV or movies, they don’t think about gender involved in the character that they love, and I think that’s something along the way that we lose as adults,” Burnham says. “It’s nice to remind the parents that this is fine, there’s nothing wrong with being whoever you want to be.”
The story tells the tale of Cristina, who prefers to be called Sweet Pea. The princess must find a suitor, but to win her heart, a prince must win a battle against Pea herself.
The production kicks off Ghostlight Ensemble’s new Nightlight Children’s Series. The company recently finished a run of Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband,” so this is a step to a little lighter fare for the cast and crew.
“The actors having fun telling these stories is part of what is so entertaining to watch,” Burnham says.
The set will be made to mimic the imagination of a child reenacting or telling a story, she says. Painted and stacked cardboard boxes will build Sweet Pea’s castle and primary colors will attract young audiences.
The moral of Sweet Pea’s story is similar to the script in the casting notes, Burnham says: “It’s OK to use your imagination to be anything you want to be.”
If you go
11 a.m. Saturdays, 1:30 p.m. Sundays in June
Laugh Out Loud Theater
3851 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago