Directed by Jim Tyler Anderson, the theatre program’s production of Roald Dahl’s “The Big Friendly Giant” inspired not only hundreds of children, but the actors as well.
Anderson wanted to focus on the child’s imagination while acknowledging the darker side of it.
Encompassing the entire space, including the revolving stage, Anderson created a concept highlighting what he said is “the greatest resource: the ability to imagine.”
Graduate student, Tracey Wood, said that the show accented “whimsical, playful characters, such as the Queen of England and wildly dancing teachers!”
Sarah Hensley, who played the spry and loveable narrator, Sophie, saw a childhood dream come true in getting to play the role—“I read the book as a kid and dreamed of playing Sophie. Now, I get to be a part of something I loved as a kid.”
Senior, Ilima Santiago, the props designer (who also acted in the show) created a series of kid-friendly, ethnically correct puppets, including the 10-foot Big Friendly Giant, and a series of masks, inspired by Julie Taymor, for the other giants in which the actors’ faces could still be seen.
“I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been, to get on stage and just have fun and get to play a giant of all things! I wanted to stay away from the original and create something new, something realistic in a fantastical world.”
The dream-catching Big Friendly Giant, graduate student Casey Norris, in his first leading role, loved getting to live a character he loved as a child in a positive, supportive environment: “Director Jim Anderson just let us get up on stage and really play, just like the kids in the show, and create something really fun.”