Imagination and color are coming to Brooklyn.
The Enchantment Theatre Company is bringing to life a classic children’s story, “The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon,” in a live production at Brooklyn College’s Whitman Theater. The story, written in 1955 by Crockett Johnson, tells the tale of a four-year-old boy who has the ability to draw his own world using a magical crayon.
The show’s lead performer and company tour manager Leah Holleran has had a blast performing the show all over the country, as the story holds special meaning to her.
“I really loved it because I always loved the books as a kid,” she said. “The main character, Harold, spends the show discovering a crayon, finding home, going to space, joining a circus and walking a tightrope. It’s really a lot of fun. Just the story itself is simple and beautiful.”
One of the reasons Holleran loves performing as Harold is thanks to the show’s young audience. “Kids are my favorite audience. They show you how they’re feeling about the show and we love when they do. I love how much the story encourages imagination for them,” she said. “This type of show acknowledges the intelligence of audiences, especially the children. Enchantment never talks down to its audience even if the audience spans from kindergarten through third grade. There’s something everyone can enjoy, including parents. It’s very interactive.”
Audiences can expect a unique theater experience, as the 60-minute show includes a mixture of practical and newer special effects, such as masks and some interesting technology tricks that show Harold draw the world around him.
“This is the type of theater people don’t get to see every day,” Holleran said. “It does something different to an audience when they’re watching masks and puppets not speaking so much and the storytelling is being told through body language.”
Thanks to the use of giant projections screens, “The audience gets to see [the story] come to life,” said Holleran. “It’s cool to be immersed in such an imaginative world. It’s a cool combination of old and new.” The performers have no dialogue as the story is told through narration.
Although the results have been positive, it took work to get the production ready for prime time. “My biggest challenge was practicing drawing. I have to synch my drawing with the animation,” Holleran said. “Also, it was also learning the timing. I can’t watch the screens behind me. I have to make sure I’m perfectly lined up. Also, a lot of things happen fast. Actors don’t have the option of falling behind. Basically I as Harold have a prop crayon and I mime the motion of [creating] drawings which are projected on-screen.”
Despite the hard work, Holleran, in her first year as company tour manager, is thrilled at the results. “It was most gratifying watching the way my whole cast has come together, and especially people new to touring finding their stride,” she noted.
The show will be performed on Sunday, March 29, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $9 and can be purchased at www.brooklyncenter.org or by calling the box office at 718-951-4500.