Generation gap much smaller than it looks
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.
Blossoming friendship: Erin Banks, left, Byron Coll and Robin Kerr examine the similarities between generations in