Friday, June 24, 2011

Animated Film and VLA Children's Theatre

Today is the opening of the animated film CARS 2.  I can't wait to go see it! Who knows, maybe it will be one of the children's shows we do here at Vive Les Arts someday!  You are probably wondering how I made that leap - animated film to stage. Really? Well let me back up a bit.

I must say I truly thought that as I "grew up" and became more "sophisticated" that I would not have the need nor the want nor the interest to go see animated movies.  They are for children, right? Well, well, well, hasn't animated film come a long way?

Think back to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Fantasia, Pinocchio.  Then came Song of the South, Lady and the Tramp and Cinderella, I could go on and on down this memory lane but instead check out this great list of animated films  Let the memories come flooding back.

Isn't it interesting too as you stroll down memory lane, to see how the story lines have evolved. By that I mean it seemed to start with stories of sweetness and wonder and moved into quick witted jokes, play on words and humor that is meant more for adults than the children sometimes.  Not that I am complaining one bit! I am merely saying that I'm just as excited to see the animated films of today as I was when I was a child.  They still give me the feeling of wonder, fun and laughter. How about you? Doesn't it make you feel like a kid again as you sit and watch the animated films of today?

Now you are probably thinking "how on earth does that relate to community theatre?"  Well look at what VLA is doing with childrens theatre.  Beauty and the Beast was brought to life last summer, Cinderella this summer and previously VLA has performed Aladan Jr., Mulan Jr. and the Aristocats Jr. Do you follow? We are gaining "speed" here! That's what I meant when I said someday CARS could be right here on the VLA stage.  These shows aren't just for the kids, they are for big people too.  So when you see the children’s programs and productions being promoted here at VLA don’t think for a minute that they are just for the kids.  I applaud the creative minds that have continued to evolve these types of films to what they are today as well as the script writers who make it possible for us to translate them to the stage. 

On a more personal note along these lines, I can tell you that when I was in high school, a very quiet guy sat behind me in English class and sometimes needed help as he was always drawing pictures on his papers and sometimes not listening to what was going on.  His name is Paul Ruddish. Well all that drawing payed off.  In fact, if you have seen the original CareBears movie you have seen his initial work.  That’s why he was so distracted in class, he was drawing the black Trojan horse for that film in high school.  Week after week he was drawing what seemed to be the same thing over and over again.  Currently he is credited with animated hits such as the PowerPuff Girls, Dexters Laboratory, Samarai Jack and was the lead animator for Star Wars: Clone Wars. Hard to believe that someone I sat in front of in English class is a part of this creative and evolving process. Who knows what he and others in this industry will bring us tomorrow but I can tell you this....... I will be in that theatre watching.  Will you?

This article contributed by Jennifer Leaton, marketing for Vive Les Arts, Killeen, TX.

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