Pollyanna Theatre’s upcoming show, “Plus Meets Minus” runs May 11-18 at the Rollins Studio Theatre. Katherine Gee Perrone, the playwright for this special production, shares her thoughts on and inspiration for the show:
After working with the Pollyanna Theatre Company for a number of years, I have come to think of their artistic director, Judy Matetzschk-Campbell, as a Gertrude Stein for Austin artists. She is passionate about building up and encouraging the artistic careers of others, and she has created a company of like-minded individuals who all believe in the power of the arts to create a hopeful culture. It was this spirit of optimism that drew me to Pollyanna.
My first production with Pollyanna was in collaboration with Ballet Austin and The Umlauf Sculpture Garden. We turned hundreds of monologues written by high school freshman into a touring dance drama entitled “Out of Many One: The Monologue Project”. Years later, after graduating from college, and working as an intern for the company, Judy approached me with the idea for a play about math and mischief that would come to be called “Plus Meets Minus”.
The concept was simple. Addy Plus really likes to add. Minus Takeaway likes to subtract. These two opposites meet. What happens? The result was a play full of addition and subtraction, mishaps and frustration, and a whole lot of silly props. But the core question is profoundly simple and surprisingly philosophical. How do two fundamentally different people learn to get along?
I remember being seven and absolutely horrified that my little sister didn’t like talking to cats (clearly, I was the odd one). I couldn’t understand how someone didn’t like something I loved. We all fall victim to this thinking. Martin doesn’t like strawberries. Who doesn’t like strawberries? Elizabeth thinks Shakespeare is boring. Is she insane?
Learning empathy and tolerance is one of the critical lessons of growing up. Sadly some never learn this lesson. Intolerance is one of society’s great big character flaws. So imagine if children learned this important lesson by watching others, such as characters in a play, fumble through the same challenges they face in childhood. This is the magic of a good story. This is the magic of theatre.
So “Plus Meets Minus” is a little bit about Math, a lot about learning to get a long, and most of all, a chance to laugh out loud as we learn about both. I invite all little and big people to come enjoy the production and the magic of a good story. The Pollyanna Theatre Company is always endeavoring to create new and relevant theatre “that speaks to the needs, dreams, and imaginations of young people and the child that lives inside each of us.” So come, laugh out loud, and become a part of the mission to create a hopeful culture.
–Katherine Gee Perrone, Playwright of “Plus Meets Minus”