Based on one of the most famous prose poems in the 20th century Spanish literary canon, Platero y Yo comes to the stage of the Gala Hispanic Theatre to launch the children’s season in 2012. The bilingual adaptation by Cornelia Cody, who is also directing the production, brings an epic journey suitable for the whole family to the stage.
The story is an amazing one; the journey of a young poet and his donkey, Platero, as they travel through the Andalusian countryside. On their adventure they discover a world of new characters, people and new places that deepen their adventure as they traverse through the seasons. There are farmers and children, villagers and even gypsies to liven the story along the way. With bright vibrant colors on the scenery and the costumes, as well as fun children’s songs, sung mostly in Spanish, this is the perfect way to spend an hour at the theatre while enjoying one of the great poetic classics of Spanish literature.
Scenic Artists Ashley Washinski and Ariel Klein create a storybook land with a large painted fruit tree and a huge white trellis and picket fence covered in ivy. The rest of the scenery comes from the brilliant imaginations of the youthful audience as they watch Platero (Bob Sheire) and The Poet (Tim Pabòn) travel across the stage moving through pastures, over rivers, through orchards, and more. The rivers are made of bright blue silk scarves that flow the length of the stage and are then used a colorful jump ropes and sashes for the girls of the village; adding a whimsical aspect to the performance.
The show is great for children of all ages as there are many moments of interaction with the various characters that are met along the journey. Often the three actors (Cecilia Cackley, Cecilia De Feo, and Karen Morales) are running up through the audience and back down to the stage as they enter and exit the lives of the traveling duo. This creates ample opportunity for audience interaction. There are even a few times when The Poet invites the audience to sing along to the familiar children’s songs.
The story is laced with good humor, the physicality of the performers begin almost farcical at times to captivate the attention of the younger audience. The story does end just a tiny bit sad, but it’s a beautiful representation of the prose poem and a lot of fun for the children.
Running Time: Just under one hour with a talk back involving the actors at the end. There is no intermission.
Platero y Yo plays at Gala Hispanic Theatre – 3333 14th Street NW, in Washington, DC. There are two public performances on October 20 and 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm and runs student matinees weekdays through October 26 at 10:30 am. Tickets are available by calling the box office at (202) 234-7174, or by purchasing them online.