Gen­er­a­tion gap much smaller than it looks

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

For pre-war youth, long dis­tance com­mu­ni­ca­tion was on party-line phones but their pre­oc­cu­pa­tions weren’t so dif­fer­ent from those of the smart-phone gen­er­a­tion.

Mag­no­lia Street, a chil­dren’s play, ex­am­ines the present-day re­la­tion­ship be­tween 12- year- old Jake, played by Mount Vic­to­ria ac­tor Robin Kerr and Mrs Booth, 85, played by Erin Banks. Each of the mag­no­lia trees lin­ing an av­enue com­mem­o­rate the fallen sol­diers of their small town, among them Mrs Booth’s hus­band.

As the two strike up their un­likely friend­ship, Banks passes on the sto­ries of her gen­er­a­tion, and her late hus­band.

‘‘It’s the idea of pass­ing on that stuff,’’ Banks said. ‘‘ This stuff is im­por­tant and this is why it is im­por­tant.’’

Kerr, who has just fin­ished film­ing on The Hob­bit, said the young peo­ple of 1944 and to­day were not that dif­fer­ent.

‘‘I’m a young guy try­ing to be cool and suc­ceed­ing, or not suc­ceed­ing to de­grees, and I meet this old lady who used to be cool, very cool, and still is.’’

By­ron Coll, who plays the re­main­ing nine or 10 char­ac­ters, in the play agrees.

‘‘She is one of those ladies who I wish my grand­mother had been more like.’’

De­spite the po­ten­tial for the sub-

Mag­no­lia Street. ject mat­ter to bring down the tone to the maudlin it is re­ally a fun play, Coll said.

‘‘There are some re­ally funny bits to give a bal­ance and there are some re­ally sweet, thought- pro­vok­ing mo­ments.’’

Frank New­man di­rects, bring­ing some in­no­va­tive story- telling tech­niques. He com­bines puppetry with elec­tron­ics and large-scale pro­jec­tion, in which lit­tle mod­els of houses be­come a full-scale street.

‘‘The show is kind of like when you’re lit­tle, play­ing with your GI Joes . . . and hav­ing such fun with it,’’ Coll said. ‘‘It’s got a sense of mak­ing fun.’’

Mag­no­lia Street is a Cap­i­tal E pro­duc­tion. It opens at Down­stage on Satur­day, July 21, and runs un­til July 28 be­fore be­gin­ning a na­tional tour.

Girls From a Dis­tance.

Photo: JIM CHIPP

Blos­som­ing friend­ship: Erin Banks, left, By­ron Coll and Robin Kerr ex­am­ine the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween gen­er­a­tions in

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