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Something Borrowed

Players’ Theatre Group presents: The Borrowers

Have you ever lost something around the house and never found it? A sock perhaps, a hammer from the toolbox, or a piece of silverware? Could it be that it was “borrowed” by little people who live under your floorboards? While this is most likely not the case, it is this type of imagination that comes to life in the Players’ Theatre Group’s latest production, “The Borrowers,” based on the children’s novel written by Mary Norton and adapted by Charles Way.

Audiences may be familiar with the story from previous film adaptations or the upcoming film “The Secret World of Arriety” by Hayao Miyazaki. Director of the play and PTG member Matthew Eckstein said the play’s central themes revolve around childhood. In many ways, the play is a coming-of-age story, but most importantly it is about that feeling of wonder so often felt during youth.

The play revolves around Arriety, a 14-year-old “Borrower” girl who is only four inches tall. She lives with her family under the floorboards of a house. Although the Borrowers live with people, “human beans” as they call them, they make sure they are never seen. The only interaction a borrower is supposed to have with the human world is through the action of “borrowing.” “Borrowing” is what the fantastical characters call it when they take things they need from the humans, usually things the humans won’t miss.

One day Arriety must leave the world under the floorboards and go up to the human world to borrow. She encounters numerous adventures, fantastic creatures, and a human boy. Breaking the one rule Borrowers live by, Arriety befriends the boy and begins a journey in which she must ultimately learn to leave her childhood behind and enter the grown-up world.

PTG is taking a new approach to capture the essence of this transition. While the performance will be on PTG’s traditional Black Box stage, the cast and crew have done their best to make it a unique experience. The play features both live action and puppetry to bring the audience an acute sense of scale in the interactions between humans and Borrowers.

Great care has been put into the creation of the puppets, designed by PTG member Grace Mitri, to bring out not only a realistic representation of the characters and creatures, but to portray the fantastic elements of a child’s imagination. The action was also meticulously crafted by the production team, with Matthew Mauer choreographing the fight scenes and Andrew C. Deike coaching the dialects. The cast includes an impressive ensemble of both newcomers and seasoned performers, promising to be a delightful excursion into the realm of childhood drama and adventure.

The play will only run one weekend, beginning Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Space is limited. Tickets are $5 at the door, or can be purchased online.

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