Monday, February 28, 2011

"The BFG" Works His Magic on Three Generations

Posted by Bob Wall
When it comes to critics, our brilliant, hard-working marketing staff always touts this simple truth: At Theatre IV, the critics who matter the most are the children, mothers and grandmothers who come to see the play.

Word of mouth is our best sales tool, second to none. We’re delighted that Theatre IV’s current production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) seems to be earning raves from all the members of the Richmond Theatre Critics Association, but we’re even more thrilled with the assessments that are rolling in from children and their multi-generational moms.

Like the following note we recently received from a very young grandmother named Cathy Down Pemberton. Cathy was born into a theatrical family; her aunt Mary Dowd was a stalwart Richmond theatre supporter and practitioner in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Today Cathy works as Director of Social Services for Powhatan County. Cathy and her granddaughter are pictured below.

“My daughter Cate and I took her daughter, Catie Beth, to see BFG last Friday. We had taken her to see Velveteen Rabbit and she just loved it, so we wanted to take her to the theater again. She is a true theater fan now, at age 5, and when her mama asked her which play was her favorite, she said "I just don't know, they were both great."

I was not sure how she would enjoy live theater--kids seem to see so many amazing things--3D movies, wide screen tv's, Barnum and Bailey, that you have to guess if the wonder of a live play will have an impact. Does it ever! At Velveteen Rabbit, after the narrator spoke at the beginning of the play, Catie Beth was so excited she turned, speechless, and just squeezed her mom. She recognized the boy's bedroom as soon as we sat down, and was awestruck. Her big blue eyes were round as saucers when the fairy dust fell on the rabbit and made him real. It was a magic night for her. So naturally, we couldn't wait to take her to the theater again.

She just loved BFG. She loved the dreams the best, and when we walked out of the theater into the lobby and there they all were, Sophie and the Giant and the Queen--what a treat. Catie Beth, who hardly speaks to my mother because she is a shy child, went right up to the Giant and got his autograph. He said to her "Did you have fun? I did."

I saw Nunsense a few weeks ago. My best friends and I all laughed until we cried . Having been raised Catholic, it was particularly funny to the three of us. It was priceless, and I have my holy card pinned up on my bulletin board at the office. Try explaining holy cards to someone who isn't Catholic....

Thank you so much for some wonderful memories, Cate and Catie Beth are looking forward to Honk! and The Little Red Hen."

Thanks, Cathy. We do it all for you and yours, so your positive words made our day!

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