Fans of Lois Lowry's children's novel and play The Giver have an opportunity to immerse themselves into the writer's magical world again with the Lexington Children's Theatre's production of Gossamer.
Adapted from Lowry's book of the same title, Gossamer is unique in that a great deal of the action takes place within the subconscious mind of the characters, some of whom are human and others are a non-human race of magical beings called the Dream Givers.
The fairylike Dream Givers live within us, inhabiting the in-between world of sleep and waking; it is their duty to care for humans by watching over and even directing our dreams. Part of their work involves extracting good feelings and memories from objects around us — they cannot just implant random lovely dreams in our minds, underscoring a truth that it is our actions while awake that matter most, whose power can sustain and comfort us in our sleep.
Director Vivian Snipes tapped a cast full of experienced actors, including Kim Dixon, Ron Shull, and Lynn Hungerford, while giving many young people the opportunity to develop their performing skills.
Riley Gossage plays the youngest Dream Giver, Littlest One, who tries to help the troubled young John (Tommy Flanigan) during his stay in foster care. Combating nightmares and learning the rules of dream giving are Littlest One's major obstacles; John struggles with trusting grown-ups and forming healthy bonds.
The play contains some mature material — a boy struggling with his memories of abuse — so it is best suited for children 8 or older.
The play's message is tender and important: We are all responsible for caring for one another. It's a lesson enchantingly framed by the technical elements of the program.
The cohesion with which Sydney F. Russell's scenic design, Eric Abele's costumes, Lorne Dechtenberg's sound design and Carolyn Voss' lighting blend together is stunningly fluid.
Ethereal pinks and purples sweep the stage. The Dream Givers' flowing robes echo the gentleness with which they must do their work.
The design team has truly created the sensation of entering another realm. Perhaps most impressively, is that, like Littlest One, their work has a soft, light touch.
Candace Chaney is a Lexington writer.