MAILED: June 18, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- A childhood storybook comes to life this month as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Summer Theatre season continues with the play "Ramona Quimby."Based on the popular Beverly Cleary books, Ramona was dramatized by Len Jenkins and is directed by Cheryl Starr.
"When I first read the play, and then saw a production of it by the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, I kept thinking it was like a 'Leave it to Beaver of the 90s,'" Starr said. "Even though Beverly Cleary began writing her Ramona books years ago, there is a timelessness about them."
Starr said that element is carried into the Jenkins play.
"Len Jenkins has taken moments from several of the books to create this play, and so we see a number of 'crises' and important moments in the life of the Quimby family," Starr said.
With a host of familiar characters, from strict third-grade teacher Mrs. Griggs to Ramona's favorite Aunt Bea, the actors and actresses (who include UW-Eau Claire students and faculty and Eau Claire community members) guide the audience on a trip down Klickitat Street for an evening of Ramona Quimby fun and excitement.
"No matter how different we all are or how different our families seem to be, everyone seems to be able to relate to Ramona and her problems with strict Mrs. Griggs, or Beezus having to put up with a pesky little sister, or Mr. Quimby's concerns when he loses his job or tries to quit smoking," Starr said. "The play and the books are about real life and we discover ourselves all over again with each turn of a page or new scene."
This is the second in a series of three summer session plays. Next up will be the old-fashioned melodrama "Only an Orphan Girl" by Henning Nelms.
"Ramona Quimby" opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 26, in Kjer Theatre. Performances also are at 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 30 and July 1-3 and at 1:30 p.m. June 27-28 and July 2 and 5.
Tickets for the show are available at the UW-Eau Claire Service Center in Davies Center. Cost is $8 for the general public, $7 for senior citizens and non-UW-Eau Claire students, $6 with a UW-Eau Claire ID or $4 for youth ages 17 and under.
For season ticket information, call the Service Center at (715) 836-3727.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 18, 1998