The kids at Peninsula Youth Theatre are at it again, this time with "The Jolly Postman."
This popular children’s book by Allen and Janet Ahlberg has been adapted as part of PYT's "Stories on Stage" series. The series typically involves shorter more intimate plays compared to the large-scale mainstage PYT productions.
In The Jolly Postman, which has been adapted by Carol Muller, a post carrier delivers messages to fairy tale characters such as Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack in the Beanstalk, Muller explained.
"In terms of adapting it, we needed to stretch out what is a very short picture book into a 45-minute play," said Muller.
Most of the expansion was adding more dialogue, according to director Meg Fischer. "Just kind of fleshing out those stories," she said.
Fischer has directed "Stories On Stage" for the past five years and "really loves it." She is very excited to work on the show since she loved the book as a kid.
According to Muller, it's a "huge favorite with teachers" because the book is interactive, including a mail bag design for the book, complete with actual envelopes.
"The concept for Stories On Stage is to bring books that children are reading in the classroom or at home to life on the stage," Meyer said and added that each production is based on a children’s book and features actors from ages eight to 18.
The large productions require more experienced actors because rehearsal time is short. There are eight rehearsals for the show and one technical rehearsal.
The Stories on Stage puts on eight shows a year from October through May at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"The Friday morning shows are filled with classes from all over the area and on Saturday, the audiences are made up of families from our local communities -many coming back season after season," said Meyer.
Zachary Helfinstein, 17, is playing the title role of Jolly Postman. He's been acting in Stories on Stage for three years.
"With Stories on Stage, we actually audition for the entire season of shows at once. So we fill out a conflict sheet, saying which shows we're available to be in and they cast us," he said. "I auditioned for Stories on Stage, in general, because I love children's theatre. The characters are so bold and over the top, they're really fun to play. Also, the kids who come to the school shows are always really cute."
Another castmember, 15-year-old Sabrina Sonner, 15, has also been acting in Stories on Stage for three years. She's playing the part of the queen.
"One of my favorite parts of the Stories on Stage program is performing for younger audiences. It's always really special waiting backstage knowing that some of the children in the audience have never seen a live play before," she said. "And, with young audiences, you can tell exactly how they liked the show. If they enjoy something, they'll laugh out loud. If they don't understand something, you can hear them asking their friends about what's going on."
There are 10 kids in the show and each are playing several roles.
"The Jolly Postman" will be showing Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at pytnet.org.
This article was produced through a collaboration of PatchU and the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at San Jose State University. PatchU is a Patch Media initiative to build strong relationships with colleges and universities across the country. The mission of PatchU is to connect students and faculty to opportunities at Patch.
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