Raging hormones and diapers, too
Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik
Sacramento, CA 95814
Last year, the B Street Theatre Family Series did well with The Giver, a dramatization of Lois Lowry’s dark, dystopian novel for older kids. It didn’t hurt that the book is widely read in schools. The audience enthusiasm was proof that family shows can thrive by offering more than light entertainment.
Now the B Street Family Series features another show drawn from the author’s work, Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik, based on a long-running series about a plucky 10-year-old girl. It’s set in the present, and it’s sunnier and funnier than The Giver. But even though there are comic episodes, this show has some dramatic gravity as well, as Anastasia faces transitions that many kids experience as they grow up.
Like the unexpected arrival of a baby brother. Anastasia stares down her parents and blurts out, “Aren’t you too old?” And where’s the baby going to fit in their tiny apartment? Will Anastasia lose her room? And there are raging hormones—both Anastasia’s (a tempestuous preteen), and her mom’s (pregnancy [[[[“a pregnant woman”? parallel structure). Anastasia ultimately allows that she’ll help, but she won’t change poopy diapers.
Anastasia also has mixed feelings about her grandma (a role that’s a real switch for Jamie Jones). Grandma’s senile and so wrinkly and decayed that Anastasia gets the creeps from her. (Jones also plays a schoolteacher Anastasia dislikes.)
The fast-changing family dynamics play out believably, with Sara Perry as the energetic and mercurial Anastasia, Kurt Johnson as the 40-something dad, and Brittni Barger as the 30-something mom. Sarah Clancy plays Jennifer, Anastasia’s (very Catholic) friend.
Director Elisabeth Nunziato handles the story deftly. Samantha Reno’s attractive set includes a large central turntable for quick scene changes, a projection screen (for Anastasia’s lists of likes and dislikes) and a curving ramp rising to Anastasia’s upstairs bedroom.
Kids will like this sparkling little show—but adults will get it, too.