So which Pinocchio do you suppose we will be getting when the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Acting Apprentice Company begins performances of Pinocchio at the Neil Ellenoff Stage at The Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox, MA on July 25 at 4pm?
Disney managed to take the story and change it for eternity. One wonders what E. Gray Simonds who is doing the Berkshire Theatre Group version will take from the Disney story, and what he is brave enough to include from the original book by Carlo Collodi. They are very different.
The Disney Whitewash
In the Disney-fiction of the tale, the cheerful little puppet desires nothing more than to be transformed into a real live boy. That is the Pinocchio depicted in their whitewashed re-imagining of Collodi’s tale when it was released in 1940.
Early in the project, in fact, Disney became so frustrated with Collodi’s story that he halted production. It was unsuitable for children, Disney concluded: Pinocchio was too cocky, too much of a wiseguy, and too puppetlike to be sympathetic. Finally a compromise was reached. Pinocchio’s wish would be fulfilled from the start. He would not be depicted as a puppet after all but as a real boy, and a gentle, winsome one at that.
The Real Pinocchio
Then there is the more authentic Pinocchio from the original source. The author, Carlo Collodi never had children. Any reader of this book will understand why. Collodi loathed children. Boys especially, the scummy little rodents. Every boy in Pinocchio is imbecilic, disobedient, greedy, and filthy. But none is worse than Pinocchio himself. Collodi describes him as a “rascal,” “imp,” “scapegrace,” “disgrace,” “ragamuffin,” and “confirmed rogue.” “Wretched boy!” laments Pinocchio’s loving father, the carpenter Geppetto. The very first thing the puppet does upon being born is laugh derisively in Geppetto’s face. Then Pinocchio steals the sad old man’s wig.
Pinocchio’s bad behavior is not intended to be charming or endearing. It is meant to serve as a warning. Collodi originally intended the story, which was first published in 1881, to be a tragedy. It concluded with the puppet’s execution. Pinocchio’s enemies, the Fox and the Cat, bind his arms, pass a noose around his throat, and hang him from the branch of an oak tree.
Which version is being done you will have to discover for yourself, though the BTG press release suggests the Disney “nice boy” version.
Tickets to Pinocchio are $15 for adults and $10 for children 16 and under. Contact the Stockbridge Campus Ticket Office at 83 East Main Street, by calling 413-298-5576 or the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. Tickets will be available at the Mount 1 hour prior to show. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.
The press announcement suggests that you bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy BTG’s Acting Apprentice Company’s production of Pinocchio in the beautiful Dell at The Mount. The classic tale of the magical puppet who goes on a journey to become a real boy will delight audiences of all ages. Follow Pinocchio into the woods on his adventure filled with magic, suspense, wonder and hope.
Produced in partnership with The Mount.
Hayley Barnes: Chorus, Gardener, Sandy, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Yoni Bronstein: Chorus, Punchinello, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Fish
Hannah Doty: Chorus, Mr. Cherry, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Fish
Abigail Feinberg: Chorus, Lampwick, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Fish
Emma Friedman: Chorus, Policeman 2, Puppeteer for Harlequin, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Rebecca Greene: Chorus, Onlooker 1, Dusty, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Dustin Kahn: Pinocchio
Melissa Kiessling: Chorus, Onlooker 2, Joe, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Charlie Killoran: Chorus, Policeman 1, Puppeteer for Punchinello, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Justy Kosek: Chorus, Lame Fox, Student/Donkey, Fish
Larissa Kruesi: Chorus, Farmer, Claude, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Harrison Lang: Chorus, Onlooker 3, Bob, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Rafi Lewis: Chorus, Innkeeper, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Fish
Kathryn Maslak: Chorus, Harlequin, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Fish
Tamara McMillan: Chorus, Blind Cat, Student/Donkey, Fish
Ben Piemont: Chorus, Coachman, Shadow, Woodpecker, Fish
Neil Redfield: Chorus, Geppetto, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Fish
Brandon Smalls: Chorus, Fire Eater, Shadow, Woodpecker, Student/Donkey, Fish
Sarah Stearns: Chorus, Onlooker 4, Rich, Shadow, Dove, Student/Donkey, Sea Monster
Alexandra Weinstein: Little Blue Haired Girl / Blue Fairy
Courtney Wood: Chorus, Cricket/Ghost of the Cricket, Sea Monster
originally written by Carlo Collodi
adapted by E. Gray Simons III
directed by Eric Hill and E. Gray Simons III
With costume design by Julia Kosanovich, sound design by Scott Killian and puppets designed by Joseph Jonah Therrien.
July 25 Wednesday 4pm
July 26 Thursday 7pm
July 27 Friday 4pm
July 28 Saturday 4pm
July 31 Tuesday 7pm
August 01 Wednesday 4pm
August 02 Thursday 7pm
August 03 Friday 4pm
August 04 Saturday 4pm
August 07 Tuesday 7pm
August 08 Wednesday 4pm
August 09 Thursday 7pm
August 10 Friday 4pm
August 11 Saturday 4pm
For more information about the performance, please visit othe BTG website at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org