Cast Announced for Boxcar Theatre's 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' Feb. 26 - Mar. 21
Boxcar Theatre delivers a visually stunning gem with an adaptation of Shel Silverstein's quirky and often bizarre poetry and short stories. Adapted for the stage by founding company member Sarah Savage, Where the Sidewalk Ends is a contemporary retelling of Silverstein's beloved tales for the adults who grew up reading them as a child. The story follows a young boy named Shel (named after the writer who inspired it all) with a vivid imagination who forges a journey that will take him to the edge of the world and a lifetime to complete. Seen through the eyes of a child, he enters a fantastical place where anything can happen. A bipolar clown with temper issues, a gum smacking brat who lives in a pile of garbage a mile high, and a full grown woman perpetually trapped in a state of childhood are just a few of the characters Shel meets on his epic journey to find his missing piece.
Crafted from the poetry found within Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up, with The Giving Tree as an overall structure for the play, Savage's adaptation also includes material from Silverstein's two other most well known short stories, The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. All come together in a cohesive tale with themes of lost, understanding, and regret. Sarah Savage has written for Boxcar in 21/One and Zen; this marks Savage's first full-length staged production.
Artistic Director Nick A. Olivero directs this highly stylized poignant comedy. Olivero remarks, "My vision is to transport Silverstein's images from page to stage." Silverstein made famous his simplistic black and white hand drawn images; Olivero's set design is a stark white stage outlined in black. Olivero adds, "Not only that, but every single prop and piece of furniture had to be painTed White then meticulously outlined in black." Puppets are enlisted to help tell this story; Shel and his eternal love, Sarah, are both puppets as children, Shel's beloved faithful friend, Tree, uses ten-foot long branches operated by pulley's to represent her outstretched arms, and two shadow puppet scenes play out on a fourteen-foot long screen. Olivero received notable attention for his production of Sam Shepard's True West, which was honorably mentioned as a top ten show of 2007 by the Bay Times. Olivero has also directed Zen, Galáp., 21/One: On a Bus!, and h e a d s p a c e with Boxcar Theatre.
To complete the transformation from page to stage is a stellar production team. Amy Knight has built distinctive wigs to reflect Silverstein's strange interpretation of hair. Using pipe cleaners, yarn, felt, mop heads, and even bits of folded paper each wig is hand crafted and genuinely one of a kind. Deciding to honor the time period in which Silverstein wrote and drew, her costumes are set in the 1970's with bell-bottoms, flower power dresses, leisure suits and loads of polyester in the mix. By day, Knight works in the ACT costume shop. Dan Weiermann has the joy of splashing light, with every drop of saturated color soaking into the very pores of the white stage. Weiermann has been designing for dance, theatre and opera for over 18 years. He holds an MFA in lighting design from Northern Illinois University. Christian Foster Howes rounds out the production team as music and sound designer. Howes graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in music performance. Since Silverstein has written numerous songs (which have been performed by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Kris Kristofferson, even Johnny Cash) Howes decided to transpose his music and will play live nightly on a magnificent fifteen thousand-dollar custom-built rosewood marimba.
The cast includes a repertoire of Bay Area veterans. Coming off the successful run of Yellowjackets at Berkeley Rep, Ben Freeman plays Shel, who embarks on an enchanting journey. Mariah Castle plays his long life love, Sarah, along side her fellow Tony and Tina cast mate John Foley, who plays Uncle Albert and Cloony the maniacal depressed clown. Elinor Bell plays Mom and Mary From Hamlin Town, with Michelle Ianiro as the ever-giving Tree and The Big O. Sarah Beth Parks facilitates as the master puppeteer; she is also responsible for the design and creation of the shadow puppet sequence.
A special matinee performance of The Giving Tree will be performed for children and families; it is paired down version of the full text without the adult themes and language. Performances are Saturday and Sunday March 7, 8, 14, 15 at 1pm and 3pm. Tickets are $5 for children and $7 for adults. Where the Sidewalk Ends continues Boxcar Theatre's season of fairytales, which will conclude in July with a pre-New York new musical, Rent Boy Ave. - A Fairies Tale. Boxcar's aim is to create experiential theatre in which they invite their audience to step inside a world of wonder and make-believe.
The Boxcar Playhouse
505 Natoma Street (at 6th Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103
February 26th - March 21st
Previews: February 20th, 21st, 24th, 25th
Opening: Thursday, February 26th at 8PM
Run: Thurs - Sat at 8PM
Closing: March 21st at 8PM
The Giving Tree:
Cost: $5 Children & $7 Adult
Performances: March 7, 8, 14, 15 at 1pm and 3pm