Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts presents ‘A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar’

March 6, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (BCBC) continues its 2013-14 Target Storybook Series with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s “A Brown Bear, a Moon and a Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle” on Sunday, March 16 at 2 p.m.

Featuring evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry, this triple-bill celebrates three of Eric Carle’s most beloved tales. A veteran of more than 2200 performances, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” joins a whimsical menagerie drawn from the pages of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” The poignant story of a young girl’s unusual request, “Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me,” completes this fanciful hour-long production that is guaranteed to entertain and educate a new generation of theatergoers.

Audiences familiar with Mermaid’s earlier adaptations of Eric Carle’s books can expect the same attention to detail that has won international acclaim for the company. The use of black light for some aspects of the show will enable puppets and props to make their appearances as if they are animated on their own. The final story in the trilogy will incorporate the magic of both projection techniques and shadow puppetry. Multiple narrators add a new dimension, featuring the lyrical talents of Nova Scotia’s Richard Donat, and a vibrant chorus of elementary school students from Hantsport School, situated on the shore of Nova Scotia’s Minas Basin.

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On the road continuously since 1999, Mermaid’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (a component of assorted compilations with four other Eric Carle stories) has generated remarkable statistics and earned considerable praise from audiences on several continents. Close to 1,500,000 spectators in twelve countries have applauded the ravenous green fellow. 

First published in 1967, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” was written and illustrated by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle, and has served to help hundreds of thousands of toddlers to associate colors and meanings to objects. Capturing the rhythmic text and beautiful tissue-paper collage illustrations of the classic picture book, Mermaid’s adaption generates fresh appreciation of the endearing cast of characters. 

Regarded as one of Eric Carle’s most imaginatively-designed works, “Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me” has been delighting young audience since its publication in 1986. Mermaid’s version mirrors the book’s stunning illustrations, drawn in thick, brilliant brushstrokes of blues and greens and dazzling reds. An unusual quest for a unique plaything — the moon — offers a splendid introduction to the wonderment of the lunar cycle.

Mermaid’s accomplished creative teams, widely respected for their unique and well-travelled collaborations, have reprised their roles to create “Treasured Stories.” Jim Morrow has ingeniously adapted the Carle stories from page to stage, as well as served as Director and Production Designer. Steven Naylor created the musical score and oversaw the recording of the narration. Daun Windover and Bob Williams contributed to videography and animation elements, while Struan Robertson and Deborah MacLean lent their production and design skills. Company members include performers Sarah Jean Begin and Jonny Thompson, and stage manager Shawn Sorensen.

The centerpiece of Brooklyn Center’s 2013-14 family programming, the Target Storybook Series features performances based on classic and contemporary children’s literature and aims to encourage the development of strong reading skills at home in children ages four to eight. Each performance is accompanied by a Parents’ Guide, with literacy-based activity sheets, reading tips, and discussion topics, giving parents the opportunity to engage their children both pre- and post-performance. 

All tickets are $7 and can be purchased by phone at 718-951-4500 (Tues-Sat, 1-6 p.m.), or online at www.BrooklynCenterOnline.org.  The performance is recommended for ages four and up. The performance takes place at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College (2 train to Brooklyn College/Flatbush Avenue).

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