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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First Stage Addresses the Shadows

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First Stage’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian children's novel Gathering Blue is set in a world where the weak and disabled are left to die in the wilderness. A girl named Kira is afflicted with a twisted leg, but her gift for beautiful embroidery saves her. She is put to work on a sacred ceremonial robe. Admitted into the inner sanctum of the government, Kira discovers less than pleasant things about the culture in which she lives.

First Stage handles the dark story in a way that doesn't make it feel overwhelmingly morose. Director Todd Denning found a sophisticated approach to the material that draws out the everyday heroism of the characters that find themselves in a sinister world. The children of the cast strike suitably inspirational tones in a production that never makes the characters seem larger than life. From moody lighting by Ross Zentner to humbly iconic costuming by Debra Krajec, this is a tastefully executed adaptation of a story that bravely addresses some of the darker shadows in the world around us. 

First Stage's Gathering Blue runs through May 19 at Marquette University's Helfaer Theatre. For tickets, call 414-273-7206 or visit firststage.org.