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May 6, 2014

"The Magic Finger" Will Point Us in the Right Direction

Written by  Isabel Quintero
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A disobedient dog, an angry owner, and a young girl with a magical ability to right wrongs–that is the opening of The Magic Finger. From the beginning there is a sense that what you are watching is important. Through the layers of humor, the audience is continuously asked the questions, “What is fair?” and “Who gets to decide?” To be sure, they are questions that sometimes make us uncomfortable, but children’s author Roald Dahl knew they needed to be asked.

If you are not familiar with the work of Roald Dahl, I recommend your remedy that immediately. It’s for your own good, I promise. Children’s literature often gets the bad rep of being overly simplistic and fantastical–perhaps a bit too sugary a treat for the literary minded. However, many times the reality is quite the opposite. Especially when it comes to the work of Dahl, who gave voice to children’s concerns in the most memorable of ways–think Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and George’s Marvelous Medicine. In his stage adaptation of Dahl’s The Magic Finger, playwright, David Wood, asks those questions of fairness of his audience, through tackling issues such as animal rights, justice, and violence, in such a way that wherever Dahl is, he is sure to be smiling.

Lucy, the young protagonist and narrator, has a powerful magic finger, and whenever she is enraged by an injustice she loses control of herself and the magic finger takes over. The consequences are severe. Things come to a feather ruffling climax when her finger turns on the Gregg family, transforming them into small bird people, and transforms the ducks they have been hunting into human sized creatures, with the ability to use the guns that had once been pointed at them.

The MainStreet Theatre Company, this time directed by Abigail Deser, and produced by Mireya Hepner, does an amazing job of bringing beloved children’s literary characters to life. Lib Campbell truly does give a magical performance as high spirited and justice driven Lucy. Through the use of puppets, an amazing set, and a wonderful musical score, audiences are sure to fall in love with The Magic Finger. And while many children’s plays leave the audience with only a feel good message, The Magic Finger urges families to have a meaningful dialogue about what fairness really means, and gives children the opportunity to not only say, “This play made me feel,” but more importantly, “This play made me think.”

The Magic Finger is the last show of the season for the MainStreet Theatre Company. It runs May 3-May 18 at the Lewis Family Playhouse at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga. General admission is $18.00 and senior/youth tickets are only $16.00. Please contact the box office at (909) 477-2752 for more information or visit: http://www.lewisfamilyplayhouse.com/events/view.php?eventid=0000001480

Note: While this is a children’s play, it is not recommended for children under 7.

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