In the beloved and time honored tale of how Peter Rabbit got his name, the National Conservatory Theatre Family Matinee in San Francisco puts an enchanting spin on Thornton Burgess's saga September 17 through October 16 (Saturdays at 2pm and 4pm;Sundays at 2pm).
The young teen ensemble cast of Tucker Predock, Zoe Zapata, Tess Greenham, Tyson Krug, Lena Galinson, Paul Dunn, Henry Pond, under the direction of the phenomenal Stephanie Temple, have crafted a smart play that appeals to all ages. The film is dramatized by Eugene Jackson under the umbrella of artistic director Ed Decker. The dramaturgy of the Family Matinee series is so visually delightful and kinetic that the plays have captivated audiences for almost a decade.
In this particular narrative, Granny Fox (Tess Greenham) tries to whip the well-known Reddy Fox (Zoe Sapata) into a victorious predator but he is no match for the crafty Peter (Tucker Predock) and his loyal animal friends from the forest: Old Mr Frog and Merry Breezel Hound (both played by Henry Pond), Jimmie Skunk (Tyson Krug), Sammie Jay (Lena Galinson), and Mr Crow and Porcupine, (both played by Paul Dunn). Its great fun to watch the ingenious ways the play revolves around Reddy Fox's plans, which are foiled and foiled again, and much to his worry because Granny Fox is impatiently waiting for rabbit stew.
Stephanie Temple, a graduate of USC's School of Theatre has stewarded many talented young actors and actresses through a myriad of plays during the past nine years at the NCTC (such as Rock 'N Roll Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte's Web and Really Rosie). She is not only director at NCTC but the drama program at Live Oak School.
Also noteworthy to all of these plays are the exquisitely brilliant costumes by Carola Anderson, which never fail to tell a story of their own. In The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, Reddy Fox sports a tailored red jacket with a sport cap spouting fox hair. The delicate and sheer willowy "winds" cascading around the heads of two actors colorfully foretell impending events and the different quilts laid out for Peter Cottontail represent cabbage, carrots and other edibles. Peter stuffs them all into his pinstriped overalls and bounces back to his hideaway, with a frustrated Reddy Fox always trailing behind.