Actor and playwright Dwayne Blackaller thinks school is boring. Well, maybe not "boring," but not exciting enough to truly capture kids interest. But he has a plan to change that.
Blackaller's goal is to take his play, H.G. Wells: The Science of Fiction, on the road to schools to get kids interested in science, literature and performance, then hook 'em with a series of supplementary activities and workshops on everything from optics to the idea of a book as a time machine--a way to speak to people in the future.
"If you're going to do children's theater, then first you have to be sure you're telling a compelling story," says Blackaller.
The story in question is that of a young H.G. Wells struggling with his writing as he works in a shop around the turn of the 20th century. Two of Wells' friends, an apprentice lamplighter and an elderly co-worker assist him in exploring the nature and importance of his classic stories, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds.
Blackaller was drawn to Wells' work after performing in a series of Victorian-era period plays. When he saw a stripped down version of Moby Dick that kept first graders riveted, he knew that the primary problem with children's theater was that so many people just did it badly.
Blackaller will be presenting a staged reading, including sound effects, at Boise Contemporary Theater on Sunday, Jan. 16. The reaction it receives will help shape the final play, which he hopes to take on the road sometime next year.