Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review of Number the Stars at Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Number the Stars. It was directed by Ernie Nolan and it was written Dr. Douglas W. Larche with Susan Elliott-Larche and it was based on the book by Lois Lowry. This show was performed by students of the Theater School at DePaul. I thought that this was a nice production and I think that the story is a very good one to adapt--I think it worked very well. It is about Annemarie (Alissa Sherwood) and Ellen (Alissa Walker) being friends and Annemarie saving Ellen from going to a concentration camp and how they became braver over the time of the story. I think it is an important story because it shows that people with different religions can still be friends with each other. I learned a lot from this show, like what it was like in Denmark in World War II and how everybody was treated badly by the soldiers, even soldiers to each other. I already knew a lot about World War II in general but I didn't know about all the countries that soldiers took Jews from. I think this show is about finding your inner bravery.

The set (by Elyse Balogh) was really cool. When you walk in, you think it might be for a grownup show, but it's not! I loved how the background was made out of chairs. I also liked how all the sets were rolled out and it was very silent rolling. That is something I like to see in a show. I liked how they had music on stage before the show. It accomplished keeping the school kids quiet. I thought that it was also cool to have it during the show. It was there when they were changing the set to keep people interested. It made whatever they were doing, going on a train or going outside, more interesting. And at one point they sing a song in the town about wanting to be free from the soldiers.

I thought that the part where Ellen and Annemarie were talking about how Annemarie's sister Lise (Fiona Garretson) died was a very sad part. Like if I had an older sister and she died I would feel very sad that I wouldn't be able to see her ever again. They didn't really know how she died, so that was really scary and sad. Annemarie was trying to keep the secret that she had been peeking at her sister's stuff from her parents because she thought they might get angry at her. I think she peeked because she wanted to remind herself of her sister because she missed her. This scene shows you that Ellen and Annemarie are best friends because of the things they tell each other.

There was a girl named Kirstie (Erinn Fredin) who was the little sister of Annemarie. She really likes princesses and pink cupcakes. She would have loved the story of Pinkalicious who ate too many cupcakes and turned pink. (It was like King Midas who wanted everything he touched to turn into gold.) I knew why she really liked to think about pink cupcakes: because she hadn't had a single sweet for a long time because of the war and all the soldiers were taking all their sugar and butter. I really feel like I am like the girls in the story because I like some of the things that kids at that time liked, like stories and cupcakes and Tivoli, which is an amusement park. Tivoli. I feel like it makes me understand the history of the story and the characters more.

The mom of Annemarie (Laura A. Harrison) seemed like a mom; not everybody can play a mom without being like, "I'm a mom! I'm a mom!" which is something people sometimes do. I liked how she seemed very like she was part of that world and she didn't seem like she was just acting like she was. I thought that the uncle (Brian Rife) wasn't very nice to the sister, but I think the actors did a good job convincing you that they were actually brother and sister.

There was this soldier (Nathan Simpson) who tried to stop Annemarie from getting her uncle's "lunch" to his boat. And then they were making these comments about women and they also ate his lunch just right in front of her like she was nothing. That scene is in the play to show you that the Nazis were not nice to anybody, not even little girls. It shows you that Annemarie is very brave and that is when she finds out that she is stronger than she thought she was. This scene made you worry for her, that she might get taken away. The soldier was frightening but also he was drunk; that makes you think that he's not a very good soldier.

People who would like this show are people who like learning about history, friendship, and pink cupcakes. People should go see this show because it doesn't seem like a regular kids' show. People die and there is a lot of talk of people putting their lives in danger. But you still could identify with the characters and what the characters were feeling, and I really liked this show.

Photos: Anna Ables

1 comment:

Chuck Wren said...

great review ada !!!!