The comic play offers "a funny, fable-like world that is created with color, expressive characters and puppets," according to Coterie. "Here, conformity is valued and individuality is misunderstood. But in the midst of this is a young person who is disenfranchised because he cannot conform. What's more, when the story reaches its highest point, playwright Brooks stops the action and lets the audience interact with the characters onstage. In this Forum, the audience gives the characters advice and explores the beauty and danger of being different. It's a life-changing adventure and theatre patrons contribute to the ending!"
Atypical Boy is the third production in the Coterie's Preteen/Young Adult Series.
The ensemble cast features Alex Espy, Heidi Van, Martin Buchanan, Matthew Jayson Weiss, Corrie Van Ausdal, Meghann Henry, Jennie Greenberry and Jason Loverde.
The artistic and production company includes Jeff Church (director), Scott Hobart (set designer, technical director), Georgianna Londre Buchanan (costume designer, puppetry designer), Art Kent (lighting designer), Matt Hill (puppetry design), David Kiehl (sound designer), Amy M. Abels Owen (production stage manager) and Meghann Henry (assistant director, properties).
"What interests me and what I was trying to explore with this play is what happens when someone is shunned and doesn't fit in," Brooks said in a statement. "What if it is an entire world — an entire society — that you're shut out of? Who is culpable? Will the Boy (the main character) become a monster or be able to hold on to his humanity?" The production sponsor is the Jim Eisenreich Foundation for Children with Tourette Syndrome (TS), which commissioned the play "as an opportunity for audiences to explore the complex issues concerning people living with invisible disabilities."
"While Atypical Boy does not mention TS or any specific disability, it uniquely addresses issues about acceptance, how we treat others, and forming relationships in an entertaining and thought provoking manner," said Jim Eisenreich, foundation founder and former Major League baseball player. "My hope is that every person who attends the play, whether they have a condition like TS or not, considers how our actions and words can both hurt and heal."
Brooks is an award-winning playwright and Young Adult fiction author. Her "Lies and Deceptions Quartet" for young adults includes The Wrestling Season, commissioned by the Coterie Theatre and featured at One Theatre World at the Kennedy Center, published in American Theatre magazine's Playscript Series (November 2000), and winner of "Best of" awards in Seattle, Kansas City and Dallas. Additional award-winning plays include Deadly Weapons, The Tangled Web (Coterie 2003), Everyday Heroes (Coterie (2004), Selkie (Coterie 2005), Devon's Hurt, The Match Girl's Gift, Franklin's Apprentice, The Lost Ones and Brave No World, commissioned and premiered at The Kennedy Center in 2006. The world premiere of A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, commissioned by the Coterie, was performed at the Coterie in 2002.
The Coterie Theatre, now in its 30th season of theatre for young audiences, is located on level one of Crown Center Shops in Kansas City, MO. For more information visit www.coterietheatre.org.