by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS
Lacey Loves to Read aims to get kids fired up about literature. This Thursday, the program will introduce them to theater, too, with a free performance by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre. The acclaimed theater will bring its adaptation of Seattle author Matt de la Peña’s Newbery-winning Last Stop on Market Street to the Lacey Community Center. It’s the first time the 14-year-old program—a joint project of the City of Lacey, Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce, Lacey Timberland Library and North Thurston Public Schools—has hosted a show.
The play, in English and Spanish, follows young CJ and his grandmother on a bus ride. CJ (Jordi Montes) is noticing what he lacks—no car, no MP3 player—and Nana (Angelica Duncan) draws his attention to the many things he does have.
Aimed at children in kindergarten through sixth grade, the half-hour show is staged to inspire imagination. Boxes on wheels serve as the bus. The three actors begin as commedia-inspired clowns who start reading the book and become its characters. Douglas Fries undergoes multiple transformations, playing about 15 characters. “You see him transform into the bus driver and then back to clown and then transform into the old lady with the mariposas and then into the guitar player,” said Annie DiMartino, who directs Book-It’s educational program and adapted the book for the stage. “The kids are in on the secret. They’re in on the magic.” And they become part of the show. Audience members are invited to make sounds and gestures each time the bus sighs, sags and creaks to a halt.
The event also offers kids chances to board a city bus. Intercity Transit will have a bus parked outside the community center, and children are invited to come aboard to read a book before or after the show. Intercity Transit is offering free transportation to the event. Say “Lacey Loves to Read” and ride for free between 4 and 8 p.m. Thursday on regular routes leading to the community center. Plan your route at intercitytransit.com.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, February 16, Lacey Loves to Read will also host a visit by de la Peña.
What: Last Stop on Market Street
Where: Lacey Community Center
6729 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey
When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 (performance at 6:30)
How much: free
Learn more: 360-491-3860 | North Thurston Public Schools