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What to Look for at a Play

I TALKED to several important theater people recently, and a number of them offered tips about going to the theater.

Jon Cranney, the executive producer of the Children's Theatre of Minneapolis pointed out how exciting it is to see something performed live, to listen to the audience hush, and to experience the excitement. He says that going to the theater is entering into a conspiracy - which means literally to ``breath with'' the actors.

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``You give yourself up and go on a journey with the performers and they bring you back,'' Mr. Cranney says. The performance you are attending happens only once and just for you. ``And you are all different - like flowers.'' Another thing Cranney points out, is that although it looks smooth and easy, a great many people with great skill, experience, and knowledge have worked long and hard to make the marvelous world before you. And they have worked together cooperatively to make it as perfect as they can for you.

Moses Goldberg, artistic director of Stage One Children's Theatre in Louisville, Ky., suggests that you should just go and have fun at the theater. If you are paying attention, you will laugh when the story is funny, or cry when it is sad; you can't react in any wrong way. After the play is over, you can discuss with someone else how the scenery or costumes help the play, help tell the story. Did the scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound work well together? Or you could just tell the story back to someone. Mr. Goldberg reminded me, too, that you, the audience, influence the action. ``Acting is really action and reaction,'' he says. ``Actors are sensitive to sound and movement in the audience.''

JEB NOLAN, artistic director of Kidskits in Denver, reminds you to read the message between the lines. What is the play really saying about the story? Does this message apply to your life? Does it make you want to change something in your life or try something new? And then, after you have been entertained by the story, what do you take away with you? What do you remember best about it? `Kidspace' is a place on The Home Forum pages where kids can find stories that will spark imaginations, entertain with a tall tale, explain how things work, or describe a real-life event. These articles appear twice a month, usually on Tuesdays.

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