Mike Emery
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Dig This: ‘Holes' Kicks Off UH Theatre For Young Audiences SeriesPopular Book Turned Hit Disney Movie Now a Stage Production, Premieres in Houston Oct. 15

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September 23, 2008-Houston-
Stanley Yelnats is one unhappy camper. After allegedly stealing a pair of sneakers autographed by a star basketball player, he is forced to dig a hole in the middle of the desert "to build character." Such is life when you're sentenced to a stay at Camp Green Lake.

Stanley's adventures were first chronicled in Louis Sachar's award-winning book "Holes," then brought to the big screen in the hit 2003 Disney film of the same title. Now, Houston audiences have a chance to see Stanley and his camp buddies up close in Sachar's new stage adaptation of "Holes."

The play makes its Houston premiere Oct. 15 in UH's Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard.). It is the first production in the university's new Theatre for Young Audiences series.

"Theatre for Young Audiences is focused toward both children and teenagers. Productions like ‘Holes' are entertaining for all age groups because they deal with adolescent issues," said Jackie deMontmollin, associate director of theatre education at UH's School of Theatre & Dance. "These are plays that are entertaining and energetic, but also have a lot of substance."

While the plot of "Holes" is focused on Stanley's adventures digging holes alongside other colorful characters sentenced to "character building" at the reform camp, the story also involves a centuries-old mystery tied to poisonous yellow-spotted desert lizards.

The stage adaptation of "Holes" has many similarities to the print and film versions, but its director deMontmollin said there are significant differences to be found in this production.

"The ending is quite different than those in the book and movie. Characters also are written quite differently for the play," she said. "The one thing that is consistent with all of the versions of ‘Holes' is the theme. Digging, in a metaphorical sense, does build character, and many of the adult characters are digging in the wrong places."

A schedule of "Holes" performances is as follows:

  • For families and individuals: 2 p.m., Oct. 18 - 19
  • For school groups: 10:30 am - October 15, 17, 20, 22, 24
Educators can download a reservation form at http://www.theatredance.uh.edu/docs/Holes_resform.pdf.

Educators who are taking classes to the play will have access to classroom materials based on "Holes" and the actual experience of attending a live production. These educational activities were developed by "Holes" actors.

"The activities connected with the play extend across the curriculum," deMontmollin said. "There are lesson plans related to math, the arts, English and even theater etiquette. In addition to the educational opportunities associated with the play, this is a wonderful chance for students to actually visit a university. Many times, students will not set foot on a college campus until they are seniors in high school. This is the perfect way to introduce students to both the experience of live theater and higher education. "

The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor's and master's degrees in theatre and teacher certifications in dance. Its graduate program consists of a master of arts in theatre and masters of fine arts in theatre with specializations in acting, directing and design. Each season the School of Theatre & Dance produces five plays performed in the Wortham Theatre and the Jose Quintero Theatre, two dance concerts, student productions, the New Play Festival, the Houston Shakespeare Festival and the Children's Theatre Festival. The school has benefitted from notable star faculty such as Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall and Jose Quintero. Among current faculty are Houston Shakespeare Festival founder Sidney Berger, Tony Award-winning playwright Medoff and Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit http://www.hfac.uh.edu/theatre/

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Categories: Arts