The Kennedy Center’s production of the 2010 Newbery Honor Book winner by Rodman Philbrick, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, is a perfect show for the kids to see.
Adapted by Tom Isbell and directed by Gregg Henry, the setting is the civil war a month or so before the battle at Gettysburg. Orphan Homer P. Figg (Ryan Mercer), a 12-year old boy, sets out to find his brother after learning he was underhandedly sold off by a family member to serve in the civil war. During the adventures that ensue, audiences will be treated to a journey of a lifetime filled with excitement and education. The history lesson covers slavery, the underground railroad and the civil war of course, while the life lessons cover how unsavory characters can derail you if you’re not careful. Along with a great story, the talented cast shows off their skills as the 6 supporting actors – Joe Brack, Veronica del Cerro, Michael Glenn, James J Johnson, Michael Russotto, and Michael V Sazonov seamlessly play multiple characters, 27 total to be exact!
The stage is kept simple and is effective in keeping any unnecessary stage distractions at bay for a young audience. However, to add flavor, Scenic Designer Dan Conway uses a back screen to project changing scenes in shades of sienna and muted colors that evoked a nice vintage feel and the choice to show them in a circular telescopic view enhanced the visual aspect.
Moving at a good clip, young audiences will remain engaged yet understand what is unfolding thanks to several occasions where Homer repeats everything that has happened thus far. This was a very useful method to keep the kids on track and to help them remember the story. I know for my 8-year old, this is exactly what helped him remember the story when I grilled him afterwards for his thoughts. His favorite part of the show was the battle scene not surprisingly, in case you were wondering what an 8-year old boy liked best. There are many things to like about this play and will be enjoyed by kids as well as adults, so don’t miss it!
Running Time: 70 minutes with no intermission.
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg plays through December 9, 2012, at The Kennedy Center’s Family Theater – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online, or call the box office at (202) 467-4600/(800)-444-1324.