Pooh storiesBirthday parties, a talking rabbit and heffalumps, oh my! Or should we say, "Oh, bother!"
brought to life
The Milne books are intertwined
to tell of the hardships and
fears we have faced
By Nancy Arcayna
The stories of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne are colorfully brought to life by the Honolulu Theatre for Youth this month. Several chapters of the original Pooh books are intertwined to create an eloquent story of the hardships and fears that all of us face at one time or another. And, the tale demonstrates the importance of friendship and how it can help us endure life's obstacles.
Adventure is always lurking in the Hundred-Acre Wood. And an imaginative escapade is always a good way to put the mind at ease.
The willy-nilly, silly ol' bear, awakened by his friend Christopher Robin, yawns and his first thoughts are of his beloved honey jar. The "bear of very little brain" has a hard time staying focused on anything else. Herman Tesoro Jr. plays a charming Pooh, although he claims he would have preferred being Eeyore. (Pooh's tummy was not nearly fat enough and could definitely have used some extra padding.)
And, of course, Pooh's friends all have issues of their own.
"Piglet is manic, Eeyore a depressive and Pooh is hypoglycemic. We were discussing what medicines they need to be on," said artistic director Mark Lutwak with a chuckle, after a recent preview performance. The cast agrees, as the actors need lots of energy to keep up with the quirky characters.
Kelly Williams plays three different characters: Roo, Owl and Eeyore. "I need a lot of energy and have to change quickly." She has eight costume changes during the show. "Roo is definitely my favorite because he is so energetic," added Williams.
Monica Cho, who played Piglet, said, "Piglet is a fun character. I get to run around and be dirty. The kids definitely make it rewarding. I love looking out at them because you know what they like ... and what they don't like. They are honest and that's the best part."
The children didn't hold back their emotions at the preview. Laughter rang through the theater, especially when Pooh got the honey jar stuck on his head, causing Piglet to think he was a giant heffalump.
As the story goes, Piglet, like many kids, doesn't want to take a bath. But change is under way. Piglet and Pooh are informed by an uptight Rabbit that Kanga and Roo are moving into the forest.
The group discusses the strange animal that carries her family around with her in a pocket. And worse yet, she's brought a bathtub.
"If we don't get rid of Kanga, you might be clean as a whistle," Rabbit warns Piglet.
Rabbit reveals his thuggish master plan to distract Kanga, capture baby Roo, and tell her they will inform her of his whereabouts if the newcomers are willing to pick up, leave and never return.
Nonetheless, the gang realizes that although the kangaroo family is different, it doesn't mean they can't all get along.
Rabbit, played by Bulldog, shines as a dramatic character who wheels around a wagon full of imaginary friends -- a bunch of stuffed animals that he makes talk throughout the show. He learns how to apologize after letting his pal Piglet down.
In another segment, Eeyore loses his tail, and everyone neglects him on his birthday. "He tries to maintain a positive attitude, but misfortune seems to follow him," said Cynthia See, who plays the down-on-his-luck donkey.
But Eeyore makes the best of things, learning good friends are a much better treasure than presents.
When: 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 15, 23 and 29; autograph session follows each performance
Winnie the Pooh
Where: Leeward Community College Theatre, 96-045 Ala Ike St. Performances are geared for children ages 4 and up.
Cost: $10 adults; $7.50 students; $5 children ages 4 to 12; children under 3 and under are free, but require a ticket
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