An imaginative version authored by British playwright Greg Banks sets the entire tale on a construction site. All the elements are there. But everything fits into a jobsite and the characters, for the most part, are trades people.
The Arden's associate creative director, Matthew Decker, directed this version. Decker says there's a fortuitous turn of events telling this story at this time, because the Arden recently acquired a building a block away, and it's being renovated into development and performance space. So a real contractor is doing work for the company, and they actually loaned a number of their tools to the company to be used as props for the show.
Every element you remember about "Pinocchio" is in this show. It's just resident on a construction site and the devices used to tell the story are what you'd find there.
Many of the Arden's players assume multiple roles for the show.
Veteran actor Doug Hara plays six different characters. He told Action News rehearsals were tricky...working out physical representations and distinctive voices for each. But once that was done, he said, there was no confusion at all.
As with any children's production at the Arden, performers stick around after the show and take questions from the audience. They then move out to the lobby for one-on-one time with the young audience as they leave.
"Pinocchio" has been extended and will be at the Arden through June 23.
The theater is at 40 N. 2nd Street in Old City Philadelphia, just above Market Street and adjacent to historic Christ Church.
For information and tickets, access the Arden Theatre or phone 215-922-1122.