Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010

The Thief Lord

James DeVita’s Latest Adaptation Opens This Month With First Stage

By Russ Bickerstaff
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German author Cornelia Funke isn’t nearly as well known internationally as more successful children’s authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. The author of the Inkheart trilogy is far better known in Europe than she is in the rest of the world. Far from being any kind of fantasy visionary, Funke has a love of storytelling not all that visible in the work of Meyer and a literate sense of insight  that goes far beyond anything Rowling is famous for. At the end of the month, Funke’s The Thief Lord makes it to the local stage courtesy of a world-premiere theatrical adaptation written by James DeVita for First Stage Chldren’s Theatre.


The source that DeVita was working from  was originally published in Germany in 2000 under the title Herr der Diebe. It’s the story of a pair of brothers who run away to Venice after the death of their mother. They re soon befriended by a group of four orphans who are looked after by the title character. Funke’s Inkheart had a kind of darkness to it that did the unthinkable in a children’s book—it realistically showed moral ambiguity. The Thief Lord looks like it could do the same. The problem with the Hollywood adaptation of Inkheart was that it lacked the rich depth of the moral ambiguity in the novel. Working alone without the concerns of a group of Hollywood producers, talented actor/playwright James DeVita could stand to do a much better job of aadaptating a much more dazzlingly complex story for children. This may be another one of those First Stage shows that could appeal to adults and children alike. . .

First Stage Children’s Theatre’s production of The Thief Lord runs January 22nd – February 14th.

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