Don’t judge me, but I have never read “A Wrinkle in Time”. So, I walked into the Childsplay production of “A Wrinkle in Time” completely unspoiled, with no idea what to expect. And I was blown away.
We walked into the theatre, and were immediately entranced by the elaborate set; what appeared to be a floating bed framed by a slanted window. Hmmmm…what did this mean? Would the bed be used to go through time? Does the wrinkle refer to crumpled bed sheets? Color me intrigued. The entire stage was framed by a chalkboard covered with mathematical equations.
The play starts, and I am transported. I immediately care about the characters in the story, as their personalities are fleshed out for us by various narrators who become characters in the story as well. I feel their worry, fear and anxiety. I am entranced by the odd neighbor, and when the children visit her haunted house in the woods, I get goose bumps.
I don’t want to give away the wonderful adventure this play takes us on; I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was assured by another patron who had read the book, that it was true to its source material, yet she too was on the edge of her seat.
The effects in this production were incredible. When the characters travel through time, I travelled with them; I felt breathless, lost and off balance. The creatures we met are creepy and chilling; at one point I found myself so mesmerized that I thought I too would succumb to the mind control of IT. Long, endless hallways were truly long (how do they do that?). When the characters flew to the top of a mountain, I could feel the lack of oxygen, and the elevator ride left me slightly off kilter.
Of course, the effects would fall flat if the actors didn’t sell them so completely. When Meg was battling IT, I could almost see the irresistible force pulling her. Yet, this is a live action play, not a movie with CGI, so the force pulling her was the actor being amazing. Seriously, how did she do that?
The set in this production was detailed yet stark at the same time. Screens and silhouettes are used to create images and feelings. When the characters were at the top of the mountain, I truly was there with them, with the set amplifying a feeling of height and emptiness rather than showing us an elaborately detailed mountain. The sets moved seamlessly throughout, their motion never taking you out of the play, but being incorporated into the story itself.
Six actors play the many roles in the play, including the narration. The narration is seamless and is incorporated into the action of the play, so the momentum of the story is never interrupted by exposition.
This play would be appreciated by children approaching those troublesome and scary teenage years. A main focus of the play was being different, and how being different effects the perception of those around you. We also saw how everyone being exactly alike is bone-chillingly scary and freaky. I loved how being unique is celebrated; being different is what saves the day.
I loved this play. It made me think, and, maybe more importantly, it made my children think as well. The questions for the ride home (which we always do) sparked a lively discussion about conformity. When is it important to fit in and not be different? Is it important, or should you always be true to yourself? Is it easier to be true to yourself the older you get?
Go see this play. It is masterfully presented with relevant themes that will resonate long after you leave the theatre.
“A Wrinkle in Time” runs through May 26. Tickets are available here.
Childsplay has announced its 2013 – 2014 season. I can’t wait!