CANNON BEACH — Mixing storytelling, live music and of course shadow puppets, Oregon Shadow Theatre presents “Thumbelina” at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at Tolovana Hall. Admission is free.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, the show is designed for kids ages 5 and up — but as with any worthwhile children’s entertainment, the adaptation is full of winks, nods and references that only adults will appreciate.
“It’s full of little jokes,” says Oregon Shadow Theatre’s Mick Doherty, “which the kids think make total sense.”
In this telling, Thumbelina is literally a flower child, and her journey views nature’s minuscule inner-workings up close. Along the way Thumbelina meets frogs, swallows, mice, flying beetles and, well, Beatles.
“While the plot of the play follows Andersen’s story,” Doherty says, “the script supports a comedic subtext linking music of the 1960s and ’70s.”
“Hans Christian Andersen never had it so groovy,” wrote the Seattle Times in a review of the show. “Thumbelina meets a mouse, Mrs. Strawberry Fields. The mouse’s best friend is the mole Mr. Darkness (‘Hello, Darkness, my old friend...’). And there’s a fine talent show, with a cheesy six-legged host (‘Good evening, ladybugs and gentlebeetles’) who does a pretty good imitation of Roy Orbison.”
Surrounded by musical instruments — including guitar, hammer dulcimer and an array of sound-effect devices — Doherty serves as storyteller and musician. Deb Chase works behind the screen, manipulating Art Nouveau-styled puppets of her own design.
It will be Oregon Shadow Theatre’s first performance in Cannon Beach in nearly two decades. The duo were once regular performers at Cannon Beach Elementary, which has since shuttered.
Working together since the 1980s, Chase and Doherty have performed all over the U.S. and the world, including shows at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts.
After the 45-minute performance, Oregon Shadow Theatre will offer a short show and tell, sharing the inner workings of the production.
The free event is produced by Tolovana Arts Colony and made possible by a community grant. Tolovana Hall is located at 3779 S. Hemlock St. For more information visit tolovanaartscolony.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 541-215-4445.