While the seasons begin to change and we anticipate the cold winter weather, we have the warm memories of summer to hold onto. For many children at the Janeway Children’s Hospital, one of those special memories is the production of Magic Jack by the St. John’s Players.
After 10 years of quiet time, the St. John’s Players, a community theatre group located in St. John’s, made a comeback last year. Judging from their performance at the Janeway Children’s Hospital in July, their revival has been nothing short of a success. Children and their parents lined the well-known ship area at the hospital, anxiously awaiting for the play to begin. For some children, the trek to the play area was more difficult than for others, but the St. John’s Players made sure the walk was worth it.
Like many of us, you probably grew up hearing the infamous tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The story of a young boy who, much to his mother’s dismay, sold his family’s cow and only source of income for some ‘magic beans.’
As it turns out, these beans truly were magic, leading Jack and his mother up a giant beanstalk and into a great land in the sky. This magical land in the sky was filled with gold coins, a goose that laid golden eggs and a harp that played by itself. As a result of the new found riches, Jack and his mother never again had to worry about money and lived happily ever after.
Chances are, that’s the version you grew-up listening to. But, have you ever wondered what Jack’s story might sound like if he was a Newfoundlander? Thanks to Grand Falls-Windsor native Shirley Morrow, some children at the Janeway Children’s Hospital now have a pretty good idea!
Magic Jack told the story of a poor young boy from Newfoundland and Labrador, named Jack. While Jack and his mother didn’t have a cow – they had a pet moose. And while Jack and his mother didn’t find a goose that laid golden eggs – they found a hen that did. The entire play was interactive and fun, encouraging the audience to answer questions and sing along to familiar songs.
“What I enjoyed most about the production was that it allowed the children to be involved with show,” said Louise Kearley, producer of Magic Jack.
Even if only lasting for an hour, the play gave children the chance to step away from the realities within the walls of the Janeway Children’s Hospital and to experience the depths of their imaginations.
“One little boy even went home with jelly beans, planted them in his garden and went out every day to check and see if his beanstalk was growing,” added Louise. “The level of belief and enthusiasm is what makes children’s theatre so rewarding.” ■
This story was written by Angela Greenslade, a communications specialist with Eastern Health, based in St. John’s.