Boys, Girls and Other Mythological Creatures

May 17, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Every person of every age should be able to experience theatre. Earlier this year, Theatre Orangeville brought in Theatre for Babies. Now, as the school year begins its last month or so, Theatre Orangeville has set up to present Theatre for Young Audiences, which in this context, means students from grade one to three. They all have a moral to them and this one is no exception.

Called Boys, Girls and Other Mythological Creatures, and written by Mark Crawford, confirms that it is best for children to be free to be their true selves. The play is currently being performed in area schools.

Here’s how: two young people, Simon/Simone and Abby, are producing a story as a play that will be a fantastic fantasy: funny, exciting. It is Abby’s story and the basement of Simon’s house is his world of imagination where he can be himself, without fear of ridicule and bullying. Abby, who is new to the school, is afraid of not being accepted.

So he and Abby begin to create the play of her story, which includes a dragon, unicorn and other mythological creatures. They are having a wonderful time with the costumes in Simon’s chest, where he  also keeps his princess dress that is part of the tale,  when his older brother, Zach, comes down to tell Simon he can’t play with Barbies or wear a dress.

It is a journey of courage and acceptance, a saga put together by Mark Crawford, who told us, “There was a lot of conversation about gender and I thought there should be a play for elementary schools. I was engaged in schools doing workshops, Q and A’s, where I would see a kid was expressing their gender in a non-traditional way, which helped to inspire the play. It premiered at Carousel Players last year. It is the only play that I’ve written for young audiences.”

In its second production in Orangeville, there are the three actors and Director, Colin Simmons, long-time Theatre Orange–ville alumni.

On stage are Prasanna Mondal as Simon/e, Claire Boudreau playing Abby and Dan Reale as the older brother, Zach, and the dragon, Iluminauticus.

Mr. Mondal and Ms. Boudreau are both recent graduates from Humber and Sheridan colleges respectively, studying Theatre Performance. Dan Reale, who has been involved with the Youth programs at Theatre Orangeville, is in his third year at George Brown College.

Ms. Boudreau told us a bit about her finishing year at Sheridan: “I love to sing, act, dance. We did a season of shows and a new musical by Kevin Yu and Brian Hill, [During the teachers’ strike] we did Crazy for You and the creative team won the “Show must go on” award. I won Outstanding Achievement in a Leading Role in Studio Theatre.”

Mr. Mondal, who came to Canada from India with his parents eight years ago, has worked hard to put himself through school. After they returned to India where their business is, he opted to stay here and make his life in the theatre. He talked about his mother: “My mother is generous and so open-minded. Without her support, I could never have come this far.”

Dan Reale said they had don six shows for the season at George Brown. “We did our season anyway,” he laughed at the disregard there was for the strike. “We produced them at the Youth centre in the Distillery.”

Sharing a little of his history with Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company, he commented, “My mother, who was a single parent, drove us [him and his brother, David] back and forth to every rehearsal and performance. I don’t how she found the money to put us in all the Theatre Orangeville Young Company programs but she did.”

They were very excited by the story of the play and its tremendous sense of fun. We passed the conversation amongst us.

Colin Simmons, a familiar face to Orangeville, has been acting professionally at Stratford and elsewhere and has returned to his home stamping grounds to direct this show.

“A director with the soul of a five year old,” said Ms. Boudreau, meaning it as a compliment, so she added, “The style through which this show is being directed is fun, is child-like.”

That youthful Director said, “The show’s less and less about gender issues and more about how kids should be their true selves. No one should tell you how to take yourself.”

Claire Boudreau commented, “Mark Crawford’s play doesn’t talk from above; it talks directly to kids, on their level.”

“Kids are so impressionable -all three of these characters have an idea to be who they are.”

Most of all, this play is fun: “filled with characters – unicorns, hunts, fantasy – rescues – escapes – there’s a princess. There’s one thing in this for every child; a moment for every child.”

Of the upcoming show, Colin Simmons made the comment: “I love this show; it’s pure entertainment. All 99% of the audiences will feel that. For the 1%, it will be a life line.”

By the bye, Mark Crawford’s very funny play, The Birds and The Bees, is also currently running at Theatre Orangeville, at the Opera House until May 20.

For more information, call the theatre at 519-942-3423 or go online to

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