Play Adaptation a Finalist for Regional Award
Joanne Gilbert’s goal when she adapted Hans Christian Andersen’s
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” was to create high-quality children’s
theatre. The quality of the performance was so high, she was a finalist
for a regional cable award.
“To me, the important thing is that showing the performance on public access cable widens the audience considerably,” says the professor of communication.
The play is based on Anderson’s tale of an emperor who hires two cons to make him a wardrobe. They tell him the clothes are only visible to those who are smart. The emperor and his advisors pretend to see the clothes, but a child in the crowd finally reveals that the emperor has been fooled.
it uses elements of the original, Gilbert’s version is a musical and
includes a subplot featuring a greedy Lord Chamberlain.
The Gratiot County Players staged the production, which was filmed by the Mid Michigan Area Cable and Telecommunications Consortium. The consortium used the filming as an opportunity to train its interns on shooting and editing, involving Gilbert in the process.
“After all that work, and the fact that the project was a unique and independently written and scored piece, it seemed natural that it should be sent in for regional competition,” Consortium Executive Director Jan Howard says. “As a finalist the production was judged along with more than 300 independently produced original programs.”
Howard nominated the production for the Philo T. Farnsworth Video Competition, named for the man who is regarded as the inventor of modern television.
The award is given by the Central States Region of the Alliance for Community Media, which supports public access cable programming in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
This is the second time Gilbert has been a finalist — the first was for her Holocaust production, “Up From the Ashes,” which also aired on public access television.
Gilbert co-wrote the adaptation with her mother in 1981 while she was a college student in North Carolina, where the original production was staged.
Gilbert had always wanted to bring high quality children’s theatre to Alma and decided to take time away from her 2007-2008 sabbatical project in order to direct the production.
It included a day of performances for Alma and Ithaca Public Schools for more than 1,100 children.
“For many of these children, it was their first experience with live theatre,” she says.
Posted: Tue, November 18th, 2008 at 11:12AM