“Stellaluna” to be performed live at the Smith

With a mix of puppetry, live actors and singers, Kids’ Entertainment from Canada brings “Stellaluna,” the popular children’s book by Janell Cannon to life for two performances on April 8 at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St. The play, by Saskia Janse, with music of Guus Ponsioen, will be performed at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.When baby bat Stellaluna is knocked out of her mother’s nest one night, her whole world is literally turned upside down.Stellaluna’s adoptive bird mom accepts her into her nest, but only on the condition that Stellaluna will act like a bird, not a bat. Soon Stellaluna has learned to behave like a good bird. She quits hanging by her feet and starts eating bugs, but when she finally has an opportunity to show her bird siblings what life as a bat is like, all of them are confounded. Anyone who has ever been asked to be someone they’re not may understand the conflicts and possibilities Stellaluna faces.This stage adaptation of the best-selling book features puppets as the bats and birds, and five actors who handle the puppets, sing, dance, and play piano. The puppets are a blend of realism and cuddliness, and feature an impressive owl with glowing eyes and a huge wingspan.Cannon wrote “Stellaluna” in 1994 hoping that she would transform young people’s fear of bats into informed affection for the harmless fruit bat. Cannon wanted to touch readers with a story about a friendship shared by two different kinds of creatures, a bat and three baby birds. Cannon likens the book to “a mirror, so that anyone who looks into it will see their own story their own way.” She never suspected her book would become a runaway bestseller.Tickets are $4.50. This hour-long show is open to all school audiences and the general public. The play is intended for children ages four and up.This performance is the next in The Smith’s 2008/09 “ArtSmart Theatre for Young People Series.” The final show in the series is ArtsPower’s “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” on May 11.For reservations or more information, call The Smith office at 315-781-LIVE (5483), toll-free 1-866-355-LIVE (5483), or visit www.TheSmith.org.Funding for this production was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lyons National Bank, and the Delavan Foundation.

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