Brian Walsh, Director of this season’s first show, “The Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr.” has been part of Summer Stage since 1998. When he was a participant in the program he won “Summer Stager of the Year,” then later worked on staff as “Mama Moscotti’s” assistant. He has been directing shows for the past few years. He recently received his Masters in Education and during the non-summer months he teaches kindergarten at Chester Charter School for the Arts.
Dan Luner, Marketing Intern, took a few minutes to talk with Brian about the show and the abbreviated conversation is posted below.
DL: Are there any underlying themes behind “The Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr?” What are the “lessons learned?”
BW: The show is pretty much about a boy who is open-minded and is very wishful. He’s a dreamer. So he wishes on a falling star and his dream comes true. He wants to be a traveler throughout the world and he wants to know all different things about all different types of people. [During his travels] his family misses him, so [he realizes] where he needs to be is home. He can be anywhere he wants, but [the message is] your home is where your heart is. It’s a nice message.
DL: How much fun are the kids in the audience going to have when they see “Flat Stanley?”
BW: Oh, they are going to have so much fun! There’s a tap number and there’s a go-go dance number. And they [the characters] go all over, they go to Hawaii, they go to Hollywood, they go to Paris. It’s just a really fun, fantastical show and cast. [The kids in the audience] are going to have a great time. They’ll have fun because there’s a lot for all different types.
DL: What will “Flat Stanley” teach the kids as well as the parents in the audience?
BW: To be a dreamer and never strive for second best. And also that home is where the heart is.
DL: How are you going pull off the show with just two weeks of rehearsal?
BW: I’m asking that question to myself! It’s going to happen; I have an amazing staff! We’re collaborating and we’re working together. Today, our first day, our first real blocking rehearsal, the kids were focused, they were ready. We really laid it on the table for them. ‘This is what’s happening, we don’t have a lot of time. So we need to be focused, we still will have fun but we need to remember that this is a learning experience. If you want to do this professionally in summer stock theatre, you go, you rehearse for a week and you have a show the next week.’ So, we’re…teaching them if you want to do this business, this is a great example.
DL: When you hear the phrase “it’s all in the details,” what does that mean to you when it comes to producing and directing a Summer Stage show?
BW: These are good questions! For me, it’s when we tell our kids when they are rehearsing, ‘It’s more than just having your hand out. You got to show the energy. Making yourself invested and if you invest yourself into it, then the product is going to be great. So having the smallest detail like having your hand ALL the way out and extended or singing to your full heart,’ ya know? Just dancing that dance the best way you can, that’s where the detail – I feel – is the best.
DL: Why should people come see “Flat Stanley?”
BW: Because it’s just a fun, lighthearted show where kids not only will be entertained, they’ll get something out of it. Where most people are so connected these days with electronics and stuff, I just feel it’s a good way to hone in the whole family.