Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hal Squared

56 years ago a little boy named Harold took his purple crayon and went on a series of adventures.

Today, Ben and I set off for the Prince Music Theater in center city to see a theater production of Harold and Purple Crayon. Upon arrival, while Ben was in line for popcorn I noticed a picture on the wall across the room.

It looked like Hal Prince, famous director of such Broadway hits as Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera.
It was!
The Prince Music Theater is named for Harold Prince, and the picture was the original Hirschfeld caricature! I proceeded to turn my phone back on and try to get a picture because I had neglected to bring my camera. No luck, sorry. He was lit in such a way that it was impossible to get a picture of him.

After completely theater-dorking out, we went in to see the show. Whatever I was expecting, this wasn't it. All of the Harold stories had been strung together in a series of adventures with no dialogue at all. The entire production was done in mime with a narrator, masks, dance, puppets and projected animations. Very postmodern.

I was really impressed with how well choreographed it was, especially with the projections (imagine him tracing the air with his crayon, and what he's supposed to be drawing appearing on large screens behind him) , and also how the person who did the animation of Harold's drawings stayed incredibly faithful to the original illustrations.

Also! The theater company (Enchantment Theater) began as a magic show, and the man in charge is a master magician. There were magic tricks in the circus part that made Ben and I feel like little kids. The ribbon into wand trick made me think "oh, that's cool" and the flowers completely disappearing off the table that did not have a tablecloth with which to hide them made me think "holy shit, how'd they DO that!?"

I said it on twitter earlier, but I'll repeat it here:
If you ever have the opportunity to see Enchantment Theater's touring production of Harold and Purple Crayon, take it.

Your childhood will thank you.

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