By Jason Portras
Bumbershoot Theatre, a Kelowna-based theatre company, brought their vision of the popular children’s books Junie B Jones to the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre stage this last Saturday. My wife, myself, and our young kids joined a large audience of like-minded families for an afternoon of some serious fun and entertainment.
I’ve got to say, though, as the actors and actresses took to the stage, my son and I kind of sank back into our seats a bit, as the voices of adults who were taking on the high-pitched sing-song tone of children suddenly washed over us. I had to laugh as I looked over at his concerned face asking me “what did you take me to, Dad??” I suppose that’s what my wife and I get for talking to our kids with normal adult voices.
Thankfully, it didn’t take us long to become immersed in the world and story of Junie “Beatrice” Jones, no longer hearing the voices as odd. The actors and actresses became children, a lot like my own, with the fears and worries and joys and lessons and happiness that every one of us experiences through our childhoods, in some way or another. The troupe’s skill and talent at creating an illusion that draws you in and keeps you entertained was second to none. Just looking over all the wide-eyed children that filled the auditorium proved that to be true.
The play is about Junie’s journey through Grade One and the many things that have changed for her since kindergarten. She finds out she needs glasses and fears she might be made fun of, only to realize that it makes the other kids more interested in her. She loses her best pal, Lucille, to two twins named Camille & Chenille and a ‘mean girl’ with red hair, only to find friendship in the unexpected place of the new kid named Herb.
She has follies and foibles throughout, but ultimately learns that “when life gives you lemons”, well, you juggle them and turn it into an entertaining act.
Another good lesson was that we’re all frightened of something at some time or another and will always make mistakes here and there, but we just have to remember that most people will have our backs, so we just have to find out who those people are and become their friends while also understanding that even those people who don’t appear to be “on our side” are only one kind gesture away from becoming friends too.
Once the performance was over, many of the children spectators gleefully swarmed the troupe to find out more about this entertaining rabble of fellow “children”. It was a joy to see so many young children enthralled by a theatre performance. It reminded me of the first plays I saw with my parents, just as wide-eyed, taking it all in, believing it all, or at least most of it.
Congrats to the wonderful actresses and actors for a tremendously entertaining and informative performance. Bravo!
If you’d like to learn more, you can go to the Bumbershoot Theatre website at: www.bumbershoottheatre.com
Or, to their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/bumbershoottheatre
For more pictures from this performance, peruse on over to Revelstoke Life & Times.