WHERE: Clara Johnson Memorial Auditorium, 200 North Seventh St.
WHEN: Oct. 5 to Oct. 13, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before show
COST: Students, teachers, seniors: $5, General: $7
Patterson High School’s drama department has delved deep into the Hundred Acre Wood to portray the loveable, classic styling of A. A. Milne’s ‘Winnie-the-Pooh,’ a charmingly philosophical “bear of very little brain” throughout the month of October.
The play, dramatized by Kristin Sergel and directed by PHS performing arts director Tori Lee Scoles, follows the imagination of Christopher Robin, a young boy who becomes interested in the exploits of his toy-like counterparts, including a silly bear named Pooh, a dismal Eeyore, a frightened Piglet, a wise Owl and other amiable characters.
Audience members of all ages will find themselves entrapped in the inter-workings of Milne’s mind as Pooh and his friends set out on many different adventures. The stories and morals shared throughout the production may leave some audience members reveling in their past with these familiar characters.
Scoles said she intended to bring Pooh to the stage shortly after spending the summer with her 5-year-old nephew, Henry, who reminded her of the original Christopher Robin.
“This play is based on the original 1926 Pooh story,” said Scoles. “When I was researching the play, I found out Winnie was based on a real bear in London at the time and Christopher Robin was based on the author’s son. It was interesting to see that dynamic.”
Gracing the stage as Christopher Robin is none other than Eric Briggs, an 11-year-old Creekside Middle School student. Briggs is the only actor who is not a high school student, but said that he was proud of the opportunity to perform with older actors, nonetheless.
“It’s a good experience for me,” said Briggs shortly before a Wednesday rehearsal. “It’s awesome to meet the crew members and cast members. I’m really enjoying it.”
Brigg’s sweet nature and childlike wonder as Christopher Robin emanates a great base for the play’s storybook structure, while offering a genuine relationship with the kid-friendly audience members.
Pooh, played by Antonio Gomez and Sonia Serrano, is also a comedic vehicle that is sure to entice anyone of all ages, according to several cast members.
“This play targets anyone who wants to see Winnie,” said Gomez. “He’s a character that’s been around for a long time and the story is throughout the ages. This is something my grandma and my little cousin will both see.”
Josielyn Aguilera, who portrays Piglet in the production, attests to Gomez’s claim. She said that Scoles always told them to act as if they were a child, which is a universal sentiment felt by even the eldest of participants.
“When I’m up there, I’d think, ‘this reminds me of when I was 5-years-old,’” said Aguilera. “The characters do remind me of real life situations. Sometimes I wish I was in the audience so that I could watch the play. It’s really funny.”
What helps the story come together are the illustrated backdrops, which resemble the original storybook’s map of the Hundred Acre Wood. The set is a fine line between a child’s imaginative drawings and “live” trees in the forest setting.
“We’ve had a lot of fun looking at the original illustrations,” said Scoles. “We thought we should use them in the play. The stagecraft class has done a wonderful job. They are improving on a lot of technical aspects.”
Apart from the stagecraft, the costumes and the actors, the story itself is a charming intrigue of intelligence, wit and palpable affection. PHS’s production of ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ is an artful masterpiece that transcends time without ever feeling outdated. No matter what age you may be, everyone will become enchanted by Patterson High School’s production of ‘Winnie-the-Pooh.’
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.