East Carolina University’s Storybook Theatre will perform “Gooney Bird Greene” based on Lois Lowry’s children’s book tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium.
Professor in the School of Theater and Dance and Director of Storybook Theatre, Patch Clark, has been working with Storybook Theatre for the past 25 years as a way to share a love of reading for young students. Clark said she was excited that this particular story was voted upon last year because it tells the story of discovery through reading and self-expression.
“So I loved the topic of Gooney Bird Greene which is about finding yourself, having your own voice, and having other people appreciate that about you, that you’re different, that you’re unique. And also having a voice to write, using your imagination to write,” Clark said.
Two major themes within this story are learning to accept others who may be different or unique from you for who they are, and to embrace writing and to find yourself through writing, according to Clark.
Clark said there is no greater joy than giving the gift of the arts and being able to perform for the children in the community, not just ECU, is a wonderful opportunity for both herself and the students involved in the project.
Freshman acting major and cast member, Aaron Ford, plays the straight-forward and slightly cynical character of Malcolm who is not afraid to speak his mind and to say exactly what he thinks.
“There’s a bit of humor in it, and I like playing funnier characters, but it is a challenge in itself to play an eight year old,” Ford said. “So I’ve had a lot of fun with it, keeping him sort of straight-forward and blunt without making him seem like some sarcastic 16 year old.”
The key to this performance is just to allow yourself to have fun. Being able to be in the moment while being reactionary to the stimulus around him is how to be a kid. Being in the moment to enjoy what life has to offer is how kids have fun, according to Ford.
Stage manager for “Gooney Bird Greene” and sophomore student of the School of Theater and Dance Lauren Armstrong said she loves being able to put on shows for the elementary and middle schools of Greenville. Her role as stage manager is to make sure everyone is exactly where they need to be.
“I remember when I was in elementary school and middle school, and seeing those original performances is what got me into doing it as a career, so I love getting a chance to help spark that inspiration in those students,” Armstrong said.
This is a performance that will be fun for anyone who comes. This is a show for all audiences, for all ages, and it lets people get into what she calls a “Gooney energy” while having a lot of fun, according to Armstrong.
Tickets for reserved seating in Wright Auditorium for “Gooney Bird Greene” are $15 for both students and the general public, and can be found on the ECU Theater Arts website under the Family Fare Individual Performances tag.