Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A note from LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE Director Marcella Kearns

Director Marcella Kearns works with Emily Harris,
playing Lilly in the Purple Cast.
There’s nothing so scary—and so amazing—as trying something new.

When our ensemble of young performers first gathered to rehearse LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, I asked them what they thought the play was about. Their response was more eloquent than mine could ever be, and it was about exactly the above: accepting change, being willing to open oneself up to a new way to be, creating one’s identity and course of actions for good or for ill. In a world in which their imagination takes them to brilliant places of imaginative play and terrible places of remorse, among other ups and downs, the young mice of LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE are constantly, actively, richly envisioning and trying on new identities in the world around them.

With this production of LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, First Stage celebrates the 20th anniversary of Kevin Henkes’ kind, true, and superbly funny book. This production, in fact, celebrates three books—CHESTER’S WAY; LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE; and JULIUS, THE BABY OF THE WORLD. Kevin Kling’s conflation of this trio of stories follows both the Lilly of the title and that of her friends Chester and Wilson. Together, they make a trio warm, close, and human enough (though mice they be) to rival any trio of friends we may find in fiction. All of them have their own encounter with something or someone outside their realm of comfort. With a few bumps along the way, but with the support of their friends or family, they find their way.

Near the end of the play, Chester and Wilson ask Lilly, “Where are we going?” Lilly’s response: a rapturous “I don’t know.” They plunge into the unknown with an easy optimism and joy in discovery. All three have learned that inviting new experience into their lives gives them lessons and joys they might never have thought to experience otherwise. Little do they know, another friend awaits them just around the corner.

First Stage presents LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE May 13 – June 12, 2016 at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater.

Chike Johnson, Young Performer Emily Harris and
Elyse Edelman rehearse a scene.
Director Marcella Kearns works with members of the Purple Cast.

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