By JON KAPLAN
Want to introduce youngsters to the magic of theatre?
You can't do better than the Red Sky Performance production of Raven Stole The Sun, co-presented by Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.
A fine blend of a traditional Tlingit Nation tale (recounted by Sháa Tláa Maria Williams), scripted by Drew Hayden Taylor and directed by Sandra Laronde, the piece captures the essence of an old story and wraps it in contemporary language, with a few up-to-date references to give both adults and young viewers some laughs.
Its hero is the trickster Raven (Michael Dufays), who we first meet, surprisingly, as a white bird. (There's a neat twist at the end that explains how he becomes black.) Curious by nature, he's drawn to the lodge of the elderly Eesh (Carlos Rivera) and his daughter Seik (Laronde), where Raven sees three boxes painted with traditional images. Eesh, we learn, has hidden away the sun, moon and stars in the boxes, and by the end of the show, through Raven's mischief. the heavenly bodies are back in the sky, giving light to a previously dark world.
The production is exemplary, with magical visuals supplied by set and costume designer Cheryl Lalonde and lighting designer Steve Lucas.
The engaging cast, directed by Laronde, is a delight to watch. Standout is Dufays' quick-witted, modern-sounding, hip-hopping Raven, who walks in toe-heel bird fashion and jokes with the audience. The kids love it when he's running away from the two humans, disguising himself as various people, including a child in the audience and a teacher complaining about all the work involved in a class trip.
Raven Stole The Sun runs this Sunday and next at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. See NOW's theatre listings for details or check out www.lktyp.ca.