So, if you are already in the know about the upcoming Childsplay production, “The Giver” then the name Andres Alcálá isn’t new to you and you would shout out, “He’s the show’s director!” If you haven’t become acquainted with this talented man, then I hope that this will give you a little insight into Childsplay’s Guest Director and Associate Artist, Mr. Andres Alcálá.
A resident of Portland, Oregon, Andres got his BFA in Acting with a minor in Video Editing at Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. He worked with the Northwest Children’s Theatre and Oregon Children’s Theatre as an actor/director. This is where he originated the role of the Father in the World Premiere of “The Giver.” When he returns to Portland he will have the honor of originating the role of Jamison in the World Premiere of Lois Lowry’s follow-up book entitled “Gathering Blue. He also originated a 5-year educational outreach program. He has been an Associate Artist with Childsplay for the last 6 years.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Are you asking yourself how he got this great gig? Well, wonder no more … about 7 years ago Andres was directing his favorite play, David Saar’s, “The Yellow Boat” for Oregon’s Children Theatre. He had seen pictures that David’s son had drawn and he wanted to include them in videos. He contacted David (yes, the very same David Saar that’s the Artistic Director and founder of Childsplay). David gave him permission and not long after that he offered Andres a mentorship program that brought Andres to the Valley of the Sun and allowed him to immerse himself in Childsplay’s theatre program for two years. Six years later he’s still here (lucky for us). During this time Andres suggested “The Giver” to David and both agreed that it would be an amazing addition to the 2012-2013 season.
Now, to “The Giver” and what’s he up to with this production. Because Andres has a passion for video production he’s integrating a “Big Brother” element to the play by greeting the audience with several video cameras that will basically “watch their every move” and then play parts of it back to them. Within Lowry’s tale a Big Brother element watches the children from remote locations and the parents that are chosen for the children keep the children under watch, reporting back to the elders. When the main character, Jonas, starts to have “stirrings” or dreams of wanting, then it’s reported by his parents. The videos will bring the audience into this part of his world with a 360 degree experience. He hopes that this has the audience walking away asking questions. He would love it if this production sparked conversations between the generations leaving them discussing the play over that night’s dinner table.
Have you noticed video images before in Childsplay’s day to day? Andres is the man behind video music montages, lobby videos and he’s the director for the Childsplay commercials.
I had asked Andres if the play stays true to the Newbery Medal winning novel and he told me that Eric Coble’s script gives a perfect adaptation and as for any moments that might be too “intense,” well don’t worry Moms, there isn’t anything too edgy to worry about when you bring your young ones of varying ages.
I also questioned him about how this play might resonate, timing wise, with the upcoming presidential elections. He told me that “The Giver” has no “political” point of view per se, but just that one should “question authority” and people should “think.” “The Giver” brings forth the idea of choosing and how important that is since the kids aren’t allowed a choice of how their lives might turn out.
Let me see, have I missed anything? Oh yes, if he could play any role in “The Giver” he would like to portray the Giver.
October 10th he will be attending the upcoming Lois Lowry book signing for the final book of the series, “Son.” (see earlier blog for information regarding this event) and he’ll be answering any questions regarding this production.
What’s next for Andres Alcálá?
Next directorial project – “Emma” the musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma” for Arizona Theatre Company.
Next big career step – Filmmaker
Andres is very honored to be a part of Childsplay’s “The Giver” but as for my point of view, Andres is definitely a “Giver” and I’m sure the audience, the actors, and all of Childsplay are pleased to be the recipients of his talented gifts.