Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Magik Theater Chocolate Factory

The Magik Theater is located near Downtown San Antonio, TX, not far from the Alamo in Hemisfair Park. For 20 years, the theater has been inspiring kids and adults alike with live performances of treasured stories, both old and new.

The Magik Theater opened its 20th season with a special production of their adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Timothy McDonald and Leslie Bricusse adapted  the script for the Magik Theater Company. Their musical play took elements of the 1971 screenplay, also by Dahl as well as some minor elements from John August's 2005 screen adaptation and added in some of their favorite segments from the book that the screen adaptations overlooked.

When asked about some of the differences between the book, director Becky King stated that they discussed which they preferred, the 1971 script or the original scene in the book. In the case of choosing a squirrel or a goose, they preferred the 1971 script. She then challenged children from the audience to go home and read the book to see what other changes they made.

Like many members of the troupe, Becky King wore multiple hats in this production. She directed  the play. She choreographed the dance sequences. She danced in many of those sequences in her role as one of the Oompa Loompas. Dylan Collins, who turned out a great depiction of Willy Wonka, was the assistant technical director, helping design and coordinate many of the special effects.

Most don't expect great special effects in a live stage show, especially one for children. However, the troupe rehearsed many slight-of-hand techniques gears to precision timing with digital lighting and camera effects. The result was astonishing.

Before the presentation, the troupe sponsored a special sort of fair in the lobby. They handed out chocolate bars, many of which contained  golden tickets. This brought the audience into the show as they, too, sought after the coveted tickets. The tickets given to the audience, however, contained prizes such as season tickets and complimentary tuition for the acting and theater camp run by the company.

After the show, children were encouraged to stick around and ask questions. In addition, the troupe signed autographs near the exits.

Normally, tickets run $10 each. This special event doubled the price, but it was well worth it.

The Magik Theater does more than present 6 or 7 plays a year.

The concept behind The Magik Theaters is to encourage kids to read and use their imaginations to make the books come alive. They demonstrate how that is possible. This year, in addition to Willy Wonka, the company is performing Skippyjon Jones, Pinocchio, The Bootmaker and the Elves, and Shrek (based off of William Steig's book), among others.

They also plan on taking performances on tour (Nationally) starting with Splat! The Cat.

They also adapt shorter, small venue performances for elementary and middle schools.

The Magik Theater is a non-profit organization. Ticket sales and donations go not only to paying the performers, upkeep of the theater, and funding travel but goes towards literacy and education programs as well. They do performances of Shakespeare's works adapted to modern language to assist high school students in understanding the plays. They run an acting academy as well as the aforementioned Camp Shobiz. They also conduct professional development workshops for teachers to help them bring theatrics into the classroom to better engage students' attention and enthusiasm. If they could help build a real Magic School Bus, it would be awesome.

This was my first trip to the Magik Theater. My family is deliberating with our budget over season tickets. The season tickets may win. Even if they do not, we still plan to return for at least one, if not two future performances.