Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Mrs. Gorf turns students into apples
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N 2nd Street, is presenting Sideways Stories from Wayside School for its first children’s theatre production of the year. This zany show can be seen on the F. Otto Haas Stage through February 15.  As students Rondi, played by Taysha Canales and Myron, portrayed by Robert Hager so aptly explain to their new teacher, “the building should have had 30 classrooms on one floor, but the architect accidently designed the building to be built on its side.” The children are in a class on the 30th floor.  Children and adults alike will marvel at Scenic Designer David P. Gordon’s flash of brilliance. Everything in the classroom is constructed on its side….from the door which opens up from the floor to the tiled floor on the walls and the ultra-high clock and flag waving from the ceiling. The youngest audience members murmur to their parents about all the misplaced items in the classroom before the show even begins. Older audience members nod to each other in appreciation of the quirky set.  It is not only the set that is sideways. Teaching methods are askew also.  The ultimate threat from the mean Mrs. Gorf is to be turned into an apple for reciting a wrong answer. Everyone in the audience shudders as that warning turns into a reality. The ultimate threat from her gentle replacement, Mrs. Jewls, portrayed by Rachel Camp, is to be sent home on the kindergarten bus.   While this is met with chuckles from most, my granddaughter, herself a kindergarten student, did not get the joke. That is not to say that the show appeals only to older children.  Everyone, from 5 to 95 will find many occasions for side-splitting laughter. All cast members do a great job in bringing this tale to life; however, special kudos must be given to Steve Pacek, not only for  his depiction of Mrs. Gorf, but for his portrayal of 6 other characters as well.  Be sure to make plans to take the young people in your life to this unforgettable experience at the Wayside School.  If you have no young people to take to the theatre, grab a ticket for yourself.  You won’t regret it.  For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at

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