By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Paper Bag Players will present "Whoop-Dee-Doo" on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. in the Weis Center at Bucknell University. Admission is free to the children and accompanying adults in the community and region through the generosity of Janet Weis. No tickets or advance reservations are required.
"The annual appearance of 'The Bags' with a new show with all new stories, songs and dances will delight audiences of all ages," said Bill Boswell, executive director of the Weis Center, "though it is aimed at children from 3 to 9 or thereabouts.
"This year's show includes all kinds of theatrical flights-of-fancy from a friendly paper bag dragon named Volcano to an audience participation game show called — what else? — 'Whoop-Dee-Doo.' In between, the Players explore what it means to be friends by traveling together in a hot air balloon, a canoe and a train; a cookie stand competition between friends; and a day spent fishing with a friend.
"The audience also helps convince Laura's parents to let her keep her paper bag puppy, and gets to shake, slide and boogie in 'The Paper Bag Boogie' before the grand finale of the 'Whoop-Dee-Doo' game show," he said.
Ordinary objects and audience participation
Created and performed by all The Paper Bag Players — Ted Brackett (who also directs), Laura Canty-Samuel, John Stone, Amy Walsh, and Kevin Richard Woodall — Brackett feels that the show's theme of friendship is a good reflection of The Paper Bag Players.
"The founders of The Paper Bag Players — 52 years ago — were friends with funny ideas, funny stories and lots of energy. Things are pretty much the same today," he said. "We're great friends, we have lots of fun creating the show and at every performance we work at making the audience feel like friends too!"
The Paper Bag Players are based in New York City and perform all over the world. Their shows, based on a child's everyday experiences, combine short plays, songs, dances, audience participation, mime, and painting and drawing on stage. Common household objects such as cardboard boxes and brown kraft paper brightened with splashes of poster paint and crayon become their sets, props and costumes.
The Players have received numerous awards including an OBIE (the only children's theater to be so honored with the Off-Broadway theater award), three awards from the American Association for Theater and Education, two American Theater Wing Awards, a New York State Artists Award and The Children's Theater Foundation Medallion. The Paper Bag Players were the first children's theater to perform at Lincoln Center and to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Final performance of the semester
"Whoop-Dee-Doo" wraps up the Weis Center series performance for 2010. In 2011, the spring semester performances begin Friday, Feb. 4, with a dance concert by Ballet Hispanico, for which tickets are $25.
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