Stuck for a play?
WHAT would you do if your kite (or wau) got stuck in a tree?
Throw your shoe to try to get it down? What if that got stuck too?
Maybe throw the other one? But what if that also got stuck?
Perhaps you might then try throwing your cat, a ladder, an orang-utan or the front door?
Well, maybe not; but that’s what young Floyd, the protagonist in Oliver Jeffers’ picture book, Stuck, does. In fact, he throws just about everything, including the kitchen sink, at the tree to try and get his kite back!
Published in 2011, Stuck shows off illustrator and author Jeffers’ whimsical side of telling stories and ability to show emotions with just a few strokes of the pen and clever use of colour.
Like most of Jeffers’ books, Stuck has garnered many awards, including the 2011 Children’s Books Guide Editor’s Choice Award, the 2012 Irish CBI Book of the Year Honour Award for Illustration, and the 2013 Italian Orbil Prize for Best Illustrated Book.
In a 2013 interview with the Canadian newspaper National Post, Jeffers says of picture books: “They’re an excellent platform. With novels, things are spelled out for you. And films, things are spelled out for you a lot more. Whereas picture books, it’s up to you how much you sit on a page, sit on an image, move at your own pace.”
The simple yet captivating tales and visual qualities of Jeffers’ books have made it easy to translate them into other mediums. For example, The Heart And The Bottle was adapt- ed into an iPad application, while Lost And Found was made into an animated short, which won the 2009 Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television) award for Best Animated Short Film.
Short and simple as Stuck may be – the book consists of 32 pages – it has, in its turn, inspired a play adaptation.
The London-based Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company has come up with a two-person, hour-long play, based on Floyd’s efforts to get his kite down from that pesky tree.
Curious how a story about throwing increasingly improbable things into a tree can stretch to an hour-long production? Well, Malaysians will have the opportunity to find out as local production company Gardner & Wife Theatre is bringing in the play.
Stuck, the play, will be showing at the Performing Arts Centre of Penang from Thursday to Saturday, and PJ Live Arts, Selangor, from Feb 25 to March 16.
It is suitable for children from three years of age and onwards, with a fair bit of interactive elements; so if your child enjoyed the book, consider taking him or her to watch the play.
Or perhaps make it an opportunity to introduce the book – and the habit of reading – after your little one has watched the play. – Tan Shiow Chin
Mum (Grace Alexander-Scott) stares out of the ‘tree’ filled with stuff son Floyd has thrown at it in the play Stuck.