The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

October 26, 2010

'Rainbow Fish' is scaled to younger set

A pretty face will find friendship in this fish tail.

“The Rainbow Fish” will be presented by national children’s touring company ArtsPower at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Nov. 2 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

The one-hour, one-act musical production was adapted from Marcus Pfister’s best-selling book by Greg Gunning, ArtsPower’s artistic director.

“We hope the children get so motivated, they want to read the book,” Gunning said.

Pfister’s book, with its shimmering illustrations and compelling story line, has delighted children since its publication in 1992.

“The biggest difference from the book is we added the character of the narrator,” Gunning said.

“She explains what is happening. The narrator guides Rainbow on her journey, and there is audience participation.

“This keeps the kids engaged as they follow the story.”

Gunning also has created a magic mirror, which shows the characters as they are drawn in the book so that children can recognize them.

The narrator then explains that an actor will portray the character.

The story begins with Rainbow Fish, the most beautiful creature in the ocean. 

Her special iridescent scales make her the envy of all, and she couldn’t be happier about it because she believes everyone will admire her.

But Rainbow Fish winds up alone because she refuses to share her shiny scales and loses her friends.

She then goes on a journey to other underwater creatures to find out what she should do to be happy.

“The movie starfish from Hollywood tells Rainbow to get fame, but she finds out that is fleeting and empty,” Gunning said.

“We use the characters to relate to the kids and help them understand. We give the characters human qualities and values.”

Pfister’s classic story is about sharing true friendship with others and discovering one’s inner beauty.

Gunning also wrote the lyrics to the show’s songs, which include rock ’n’ roll, calypso, rap, conga and gospel.

There also will be plenty of dancing to keep young audience members in kindergarten through Grade 2 in the swim.

“We hope the elements of dance make it attractive to the children,” Gunning said.

“We get a lot of reaction from them with the different styles of music. When Rainbow meets up with a ’50s greaser shark, they sing ‘Stay for a Bite’ in the ‘Grease’ musical style.

 “The narrator will tell the audience what style the song will be done in. We send out study guides to teachers who are bringing a class.”

Michael Bodolosky, arts center executive director, said there will be school groups, but the show is open to the public.

“We’ve had this group here numerous times, and they are phenomenal,” Bodolosky said.

“They’ve done ‘Harry the Dirty Dog,’ which we had here last year, and ‘Anne of Green Gables.’ They did ‘The Rainbow Fish’ here a number of years ago. They’re a reputable children’s touring company.”

Fin fun

What: “The Rainbow Fish.”

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

When: 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Nov. 2.

Tickets: $6.

Information: 269-7200, (800) 846-2787 or www.upjarts.org.

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