Stuck for a play?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - For more in­for­ma­tion on Stuck, the play, call 04-899 1722 or go to tick­et­ for Pe­nang, and 017-228 9849 or go to gard­nerand­ for Se­lan­gor. Teach­ers can con­tact Donna at 012-230 2469 for spe­cial school rates.

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.

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