If Wishes Were Fishes | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Pollyanna Theatre Company Teaches Us To Be Wary of Talking Fish (And Other Important Lessons)

If wishes were fishes, then… who knows??? Pollyanna Theatre Company’s summer show will tell us! With playful characters and lots of imagination, we learned from Pollyanna exactly what our young friends will glean from “Transformational Play” and some good storytelling.

The saying is true: Play is the work of childhood. Educational research has shown that through imaginative play, children learn about the world around them, about communication, and about themselves. Imaginative play is where beginning problem solving skills take root. This summer, Pollyanna Theatre is producing a super fun, play-filled production that takes a close look at both friendship and discoveries made during “playing pretend.”

IF WISHES WERE FISHES, by award-winning playwright Holly Hepp-Galvan, introduces this summer’s audiences to Felicia, Johnny, and Sarah. These are three friends who meet in their favorite outdoor location daily to play together. And they can’t wait to play together! They play the best games and always support and encourage each other. One day, when they’re playing and complaining about the many demands of childhood (keeping a clean room, helping with younger siblings, washing the dishes, etc.), a magic fish appears. The magic fish says that she will grant them three wishes—one wish each. And that is when the trouble starts. In Hepp-Galvan’s hilarious new play, these friends (and our young audience) learn to be grateful for what you have, to always appreciate the wonderful people in your life, and to be wary of talking fish. This play is intended for children ages 4 – 9.

Hepp-Galvan created childlike characters who still live in a world of the imagination where a simple found object can transform into something else simply through imaginative belief. If these characters are playing and need a baby bottle, a found milk jug will do nicely. If a story being told requires a royal scepter, a bright purple ruler from your backpack will do just fine. The characters are engaging in a very important part of their development: Transformational Play. This stage of child development happens when children begin to see similarities between shapes, weights, and colors of objects and when a moment in their pretend world of play needs an object that isn’t close at hand.

In Transformational Play, they can easily transform an object that is available. This is a vital step in the development of children and it takes place during unsupervised dramatic playtime that most children do both with their friends and when they are alone. With this layer of playfulness in Hepp-Galvan’s script, Pollyanna’s Director and Designers have taken that concept of “transformation” and used it throughout the physical world of the production. The result will be a very fun summer production that will have summer camp groups, daycare providers, and families laughing at and cheering for these imaginative characters.

IF WISHES WERE FISHES features an ensemble made up of some of Austin’s finest actors: Bethany Harbaugh, William Swift, Emily Smith and Eva McQuade bring a very special spark of energy and wit to Hepp-Galvan’s dialogue.

A Parent/Teacher Study Guide with lots of ideas for fun activities and information is available for download on the Pollyanna Theatre Company website. And while you’re there, check out the 2018-2019 Pollyanna Theatre Season! Details about both the mainstage productions and the Play and Play Productions for preschool audiences are listed.

You can catch If Wishes Were Fishes right here at the Long Center in our Rollins Studio Theater June 23 – July 1. 

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