For over thirty years, Director John Hardy has been transporting audiences to new worlds. Now the Associate Director of Virginia's renowned Barter Theatre-training ground for the likes of Gregory Peck and Kevin Spacey-invites you to see the universe as never before, in The Rose Theater's production, THE BORROWERS, running October 19th through November 4th. Based on the classic children's books by Mary Norton, Hardy's adventurous production will have kids on The Edge of their seats and leave adults nostalgic for a time when they were small, too.
The story of little Arrietty and her four-inch-tall family begins as they secretly "borrow" the items they need to co-exist with "human beans." But when Arrietty encounters a humanBut when Arrietty encounters a human boy on her first borrowing expedition, she sets off a chain of events that has the Borrowers running for their lives.
"In Arrietty, audiences will meet a fourteen-year-old who demonstrates bravery of
stupendous proportions," said director Hardy, who was recently awarded the Sara
Spencer Award for lifetime achievement, the highest honor that can be achieved in theater for young audiences. "In a lot of ways, Arrietty is linked with Harry Potter in that great tradition of young adult British literature: young people finding a new universe, facing dangers, and finding their place in the world."
When Mrs. Driver, the human housekeeper, finds out about the Borrowers, she throws a fit and has the gardener smoke them out of their home. Arriety and her parents, Pod and Homily, escape through an air vent, and our heroine begins to adapt to the new, outside world. But with her parents struggling in the outside and hungry crows, badgers and foxes on the loose, do the Borrowers have what it takes to survive?
Charles Way's playful script brings life to Mary Norton's classic children's novels, and
Hardy's production features great performances from the professional actors, who
brilliantly portray the huge size differences between humans and Borrowers. The
combination of ingenious scenic design by Kathy Voecks, charming costumes by Callyann Casteel, lighting design by Kyle L. Toth, and wildly imaginative props by Ronald L. Wells, Jr. make for a spectacular production.
"With The Borrowers, we set out to keep young audience members just as involved in the world of the play, from moment to moment, as the actors," said Hardy. "The biggest challenge was maintaining the flow of the story while allowing the characters to change size between the different worlds."
To achieve the proper effect, Hardy uses various props, tiny and huge, plus a little bit of theater magic that will transport a young audience to a new world and have adults grinning from ear to ear.
As Arrietty navigates the outside world, she meets a new ally who helps the family search for other refugee Borrowers. But winter is coming, and with good housing hard to find, the Borrowers are exposed to the wrath of Mrs. Driver, who threatens to wipe them out once and for all.
"I think this kind of story has long-standing, universal appeal because it invites the
audience into a universe that's exciting and unfamiliar," said Hardy. "A young person
comes to the theater with a remarkable willingness to be transported into a realm that's unfamiliar to them, and to be transformed by that experience."
THE BORROWERS will be presented October 19 through November 4 with performances at 7 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturday, October 27th, the 2 pm show will be interpreted for the hearing impaired and the 7 pm show will be an autism-friendly performance.
Tickets are $18 each or free with membership to The Rose. Reservations may be made by calling 402-345-4849 or online at www.rosetheater.org. Discount vouchers are are available for $14 at area Hy-Vee Food Stores. The play is best for ages 8 and older.
THE BORROWERS is sponsored by Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Q98-Five and the Nebraska Arts Council.