Sesame Street Parents
"The best books, music, videos,
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7-9 YEARS, Video: Pinocchio. Globalstage, 888-324-5623; $27. Globalstage travels the world to film theatrical productions appropriate for children. We're glad they found this one. The play follows the traditional tale of the wayward wooden boy rather loosely. Yes, his nose still grows, but a contemporary story line with costumes to match makes for a version that is both enchanting and educational.
Harvey, The Magazine For Kids
Cool Stuff: The Long and the Short of It
Even though I have seen other versions of Pinocchio, I really liked this one because it's a play, which I never get to go and see. And although it is a video of a play, the cameraman seems to be right in the action, so you're not just looking at a stage all the time. The costumes and sets are really colorful and the songs and dancing are very cool. I don't think I have ever seen anything like this tape, which is one of the things I like about it. For ages 7 and up, Globalstage, call (888) 324-5623, for more information, $27
--Mara G., 9 years old, Chicago, Il
July/August, 1998. p.18. By R. Pitman.
The story of one of the most famous bad boys in all of children's literature comes to colorful life in this live theatre adaptation of Carlo Collodi's classic tale set in Renaissance Italy and presented in the commedia dell'arte style. Created by the craftsman Gepetto, the newly fashioned boy Pinocchio is-- like Sharon Stone's acting-- all wood. Sent by his maker/father to school to gain an education and thereby rise in the world through the fruits of his knowledge, the easily impressionable Pinocchio is waylaid by thieves, cajoled by delinquents, and ultimately, whisked off to Toy Town, where he learns that all play and no work makes Pinocchio a donkey. As anyone who has watched the Disney animated version umpty-ump times knows, all's well that ends well, and Pinocchio ends well, indeed, with valuable lessons learned about the importance of education, honesty, and, above all, love. Excellent acting, solid songs, vibrant costuming and smart camerawork make this version of the beloved story of a boy, his good hearted father, a sage cricket and a benevolent blue fairy (as well as sundry lowlifes) a genuine winner. And, while the program stands alone quite nicely, the onscreen introduction by Professor Elizabeth McNamer concerning the historical and thematic elements (also covered in the accompanying study guide) are a real bonus for understanding the social and political milieu in which Collodi penned his tale. Highly recommended. Aud: E, I, P.
School Library Journal
November 1998, P. 62
Lovely children's theater is at the heart of this educational/ entertainment production. The musical comedy staging is capably performed at Stage One, a program of the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville. Handsome costumes, effective use of painted curtains and special effects, and competent acting with broad humor convey the misadventures of Pinocchio as he is lured along by ill chosen companions and reunited with Gepetto in the belly of the great fish. Pinocchio's final transformation from puppet to human ends the performance on a somewhat abrupt note as the performers all strip off their half masks and send him off the stage, out of their midst and into the audience, while singing about the meaning of becoming "real." This final emphasis on the moral of the story is part of a double set of brackets around the play which lengthens the production into an extended lesson on theater, history, politics, and the meaning of the story. Just before the play begins, the actors proclaim their presence among their theater audience, giving viewers a bit of a lesson on acting and theater. Longer didactic scenes before and after the play feature Professor Elizabeth McNamer of Public Radio's Tea and Poetry in dialogue with a sixth grade boy. On their way to see the play she offers learned explanations of theatrical history, the meaning of democracy, the philosophy of Kant, and some of the political influences of Collodi's time. After the play, she asks the boy probing questions about themes in the play. McNamer extends these conversations into the accompanying pamphlet which some parents and teachers may want to use with middle school children. Most viewers will prefer to fast forward into the play itself. - Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston, MA
June 29, 1998
What a great idea: Search the world for the very best in English-language childrens theater, then videotape it, package it and market it to parents looking for high-quality kidvid entertainment. If this production of Pinocchio (presented by Kentuckys Stage One Childrens Theatre) is any indication, Globalstage has hit upon a truly unique and innovative approach to childrens programming. Taped before an audience of enthusiastic children, Pinocchio is mounted in the commedia dell'arte tradition of classic stock characters and situations, enhanced by imaginative costumes, scenery, and fun, memorable songs. Although its a play, Pinocchio is edited like a film, using close-ups and camera angles not normally seen in videotaped stage productions. It also comes packaged with an activity booklet designed to help kids understand the deeper meanings of the play.
Vid Kid Stage and Screen by Trish O'Brien.
&Also from Globalstage comes a new look at the old story of what happens to bad boys who don't obey their parents and what it takes to be a real boy. This production of Pinocchio employs elaborate sets and costumes and a lively cast of characters and songs. "Everyone wants spectacle," one character proclaims, and the production numbers may leave you wanting more - a good impetus to get the family to a live performance at your local community theater. (Globalstage, 94 min., $27.)
Northern California Parent
Rave Reviews by Carrie Mayburn.
Filmed by the British Broadcasting Company, Globalstage Productions captures everything that creates the experience of live theater, including acting, music, beautiful sets, lights and stage movement. This classic story is presented in a way that sparks the imagination, delights the senses and challenges the mind. The video comes with a study guide that probes historical, theatrical and other aspects of the play and production. Available at www.globalstage.net or (888) 324-5623.
Dallas Morning News
July 6, 1998, p.5C
Children's Videos by Nancy Churnin.
&And in one of the most inspired presentations of existing material, its hard to find an idea more worthy of success than Globalstage, a company dedicated to capturing great childrens theater productions in the United States and Europe. Filmed by the BBC, its aimed at ages 7 to 14, but my 4-year-old was mesmerized by its presentation of Pinocchio from Stage Ones Childrens Theatre in Louisville, Ky.
Its a natural for classrooms, with a pedantic introduction and concluding discussion by professor Elizabeth McNamer and Preston Blakeley, the alarmingly precious, bow-tied 11-year-old son of Globalstage founder Libby Pratt. But the series, which also includes Frankenstein (also from Stage One) and Cyrano (from Blauw Vier Theatre in Antwerp, Belgium) also makes for high quality home viewing. And once the show begins, the skillful filming recalls the heights of BBCs wonderful old Masterpiece Theatre this time, crafted for kids, with enough depth for their adult companions to explore and enjoy.
Rocky Mountain News
August 7, 1998
Stage Presence Enlivens Pinocchio by Doug Wagner
It's hard to overstate how valuable the Globalstage series of plays is. Besides entertaining and spreading wisdom to kids in a broad age range - they're shooting for ages 7 to 14, but my 4-year-old eats them up - these productions turn them on to the possibilities of a life in the theater.
The British Broadcasting Corp., which does the filming, doesn't just plant a camera in the middle of the audience; it approaches the shoot as it would for a movielots of angles and closeups. It would seem that the cameras get in the way of big chunks of the audience, but their loss is certainly our gain. In a scene in Pinocchio, (Globalstage, 94 min., $27) presented by Stage One in Louisville, Ky., the camera even shakes violently after Pinocchio's been swallowed by a huge dogfish, so the scene is actually more effective for us than for the folks right there in the theater.
If you're familiar only with the Disney version of Carlo Collodi's tale, here's the real story:
Geppetto builds the son he never had (out of wood) and names him Pinocchio, and the puppet boy immediately confronts the problems of selfishness that flesh-and-blood kids get their whole childhoods to work out. He doesn't want to tell the truth when it would present an inconvenience, he doesn't want to take bitter medicine, he doesn't want to get home on time - and he always gets his comeuppance. Eventually, his irresponsibility lands Geppetto in the belly of the dogfish (believing Pinocchio lost, he'd looked for him everywhere he could think of on land). When Pinocchio finally joins him there, their safety appears to be anything but assured.
The setting for all this moralizing is in the whimsical commedia dell'arte style. The costumes are on the surreal side, the masks all crazily distinct. And the sea is represented by stagewide scrims whose height varies depending on the actors' proximity to the shore.
The acting, meanwhile, is rich despite the stereotypical plot. As Pinocchio, Omar Morris is especially good, engaging in all forms of self-centeredness without alienating us. At heart, he's the Everyboy, albeit a wooden one.
And that's the only thing about Pinocchio that's wooden. The excitement of the production is so palpable that even career-saddled adults might find themselves considering drama classes. Grade: A