The Hastings College’s theatre honorary, Alpha Psi Omega, put on a production of “The Coloring Book”, written by Bradley Walton, for this year’s annual Children’s Show. Viewings of the show are taking place Dec. 5-7 in the Scott Studio Theater. This play touches on the inevitable issues in life, from social hierarchy to self challenges, and teaches how to deal with these issues and treat others in a fun, new way.
The unique setting, a boy’s coloring book, created a world where the cast could present social issues enjoyably and understandably.
“I feel like we are in a childrens’ YouTube channel,” said Shailyn Brillon, who played Benny the calf, after they finished the media night production.
Student director Kiley Logan used this as her student capstone. She wanted it to show what she learned while being a student here at Hastings College. The play is portraying dark issues lightheartedly by using a coloring book.
The uncolored animals are very curious and excited when the words tell them that a five year old boy opens the coloring book and begins coloring it. The first thing he colors is the page with the veterinarian, Sally, played by Mikhala Miller, and the guinea pig, Eddie, played by Darci Wax.
The other animals get ready to be colored by the boy because of his unique imagination of adding his own ideas to the characters. A conflict starts when the older sister colors the Jacques the pig, played by Luke Liffengren, realistically and the animals begin dividing themselves into a social hierarchy. Jacques leads the other animals into thinking that the animals, colored by the boy, are considered “the untouchables” due to their differences and the ones that are colored by the girl, such as himself, are the elites.
As the story progresses, self-image issues, judgments, peer pressure, bullying, need for acceptance and racism become the message of the play.
“I hope that kids and adults can see that these topics are still relevant so they can leave with an understanding of that,” Logan said.
“It’s very different from any other show I’ve been in,” said Cameron Rodgers, who plays Arthur the monkey.
This show made it easy for anyone to understand the important topics that are sometimes hard to talk about because of how dark they can be. While being touchy topics, the script made its theme simple and accessible. It starts off with superficially with cliques, but the narrative shifts to deeper message about outside appearances not determining who someone is as a person. The character that learned that the most was Arthur, who was also the one who was accepting of others and didn’t base his opinion on who colored them.
The use of color and technology, kept the audience’s attention throughout the play. As the pages were getting colored, the lights would change different colors. The entertaining costume changes that were involved featured fancifully colored animals and others were colored “normally.”
“We had to really think of how we portray the heavy topics with tech elements,” Logan said
Show times are tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.