FLORENCE — Porkchop Productions, a professional theater company from Aiken, stopped by the Florence County Library to educate children through interactive theater about the importance of appreciating what you have.
Porkchop Productions performed “The Fisherman and His Needy, Greedy Wife”.
It’s a modern take on a classic tale. A hardworking fisherman struggles to satisfy his demanding wife. One day, while fishing, the fisherman catches a magic fish that can grant wishes. He tells his wife about the magic fish and she starts making outlandish requests. She finds herself asking for more and more until she loses everything and is left with what she had at the start.
The live theater production is part of the library’s summer reading program which is themed “Oceans of Possibilities”.
Paula Childers, head of children’s services, said it was important to expose children to different avenues of storytelling.
“I want them to see live productions,” she said. “A lot of kids aren’t exposed to the arts. It’s also important for kids to hear this message because kids want different things in life, but they don’t recognize what they have and how important it is. It teaches them a very important lesson at a young age to appreciate what you have. It’s just another way to arouse children’s interest and get them to read in the library.
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About 65 parents and their children occupied the seats in the Joseph Stukes meeting room.
Anne Darby Hunter, who attended the event, said creativity, imagination and live theater are important and their importance should be passed on to the younger generation.
“I don’t want to see live theater disappear and be watched on the tablet,” Hunter said. “It’s very important for children to be involved in anything to open their minds to creativity and imagination.”
Hunter said her family usually comes whenever Porkchop Productions performs, but hasn’t been able to for two years due to COVID-19.
“Whenever the library has Porkchop Productions, we come,” she said. “I brought my eldest, who is now 6 years old, when she was 2 and a half. We took pictures with one of the actresses four years ago and it’s on our fridge. Now we have an image that is recent. The continuity of live theater and people who love art is so important.
Laura Blanchette, an actress from Porkchop Productions, said live theater is important because people are too busy staring at their electronics and no longer living life.
“I think theater is a lost art and we try to keep it alive,” Blanchette said. “When you attend a live performance, you can interact with the audience.”
“This lesson was important because so many children have nothing or have so much that they don’t know what to do with it. It’s important to bring these sides together and let each take their own lessons from the show.
“We don’t want to hit children over the head with a hammer to teach them this lesson. We want them to slowly come into their own understanding.
Frances Fields, another actress from Porkchop Productions, said the main reason children’s theaters are important is how they build confidence.
“I had a speech impediment growing up,” Fields said. “With the help of speech therapy and theater I overcame it. I was forced to speak out loud, to enunciate and that helped me and gave me confidence. Theater is a safe place to express oneself constructively.
“The theater also allows children to dream. If you’re not dreaming, you’re not going anywhere,” she said. “Dreams lead to goals and goals lead to everything. If I hadn’t had theater I believe it would have taken me longer to get over the struggle I had with my speech impediment and I wouldn’t have been as confident as I am now. Theater builds confidence.