Young actors are in a ‘Pickle’

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Jessica Jane Harris manipulates a puppet king speaking to a very human princess (Emma Buchanan) in “Pickle-Chiffon Pie.” Durango writer Wendy Ludgewait’s script is an adaptation of the children’s book by Jolly Roger Bradfield.

Herald Staff Report

It may be children’s theater, but there’s nothing childish about the Durango Arts Center’s production of “Pickle-Chiffon Pie.”

The play is based on Jolly Roger Bradfield’s book of the same name, turned into a play for the stage by Durango writer Wendy Ludgewait.

It’s a cast of young actors, but they’re not too young, adeptly singing and dancing their way through the script, which was set to music by Wade Stallings and Dan Hoeye.

Colorful fairy-tale costumes by Susan Belshe and an array of puppets add to the visual appeal.

It’s a positive story – there’s not even a villain – but there is a witch, an ogre and an array of dragons to spice things up. Ludgewait knows her audience as Bradfield did before her, and not just the kids. Someone had to read the story, and someone has to bring the kids to the play. That means the book, and the play, has to appeal to old and young alike.

“The author knew that if a story is a really good one, parents everywhere would be commanded by their children to read it aloud again and again. And maybe even once more ... ” Ludgewait writes in her director’s notes.

“Pickle-Chiffon Pie” will run for two weekends. The two Nov. 16 shows will be special fundraising performances. Children ages 2-6 can meet the three princes and the princess for hugs, handshakes and autographs after the show, and local artisan pies will be available for auction.

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