Afternoon of the Elves
Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) proudly presents the Windmill Performing Arts production of Afternoon of the Elves, adapted by Y York, based on the book by Janet Taylor Lisle and directed by SCT’s Artistic Director Linda Hartzell. Afternoon of the Elves holds a special place in Seattle Children’s Theatre history—its premiere opened the inaugural season in SCT’s Charlotte Martin Theatre in 1993. In addition, Hartzell recently directed the production in Adelaide, Australia, which was co-presented by the children’s theatre, Windmill Performing Arts, and the state’s flagship adult theatre company, State Theatre. Nearly all of the critically-acclaimed Australian cast will perform in Seattle’s upcoming production.
Based on the 1990 Newbery Honor book by Janet Taylor Lisle, Afternoon of the Elves is a poignant story about imagination, friendship and responsibility. Upwardly-mobile Hillary has her social standing jeopardized when she befriends her quirky outcast neighbor Sara Kate. Hillary is drawn in by the secret of an enchanted elf village in Sara Kate’s backyard. While the two tend to the elf village, the girls’ relationship grows, revealing the complicated layers of Sara Kate’s life, including the responsibility and burden she carries taking care of her ill mother.
“This is one of the best scripts ever written for young audiences,” said Hartzell. “The story has everything you could want: friendship, play, imagination, mystery and the dramatic tension of exclusion and neglect. I am honored and privileged to introduce the amazingly talented actors from the production we did in Australia to our Seattle audience.”
Y York (Playwright) has written many plays for children and adults. She received AATE’s 2001 Distinguished Play Award for her adaptation of Afternoon of the Elves. Her play, The Forgiving Harvest premiered at People’s Light and Theatre Company in Pennsylvania and received the AT&T:OnStage® Award. Other plays include Nothing is the Same, The Garden Of Rikki Tikki Tavi, Holiday Wrappings (with Gary Pak) and The Last Paving Stone. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing, Smith and Kraus, and UT Texas Press.
Sara Kate is weird. But she is Hillary’s backyard neighbor, and she really needs to tell Hillary something. Hillary agrees to talk with her privately, just to make her go away. She isn’t prepared for Sara Kate’s big news, though. Sara Kate has elves living in her backyard. There it is, a tidy little elf village! Even after her other friends make fun of her for believing in elves, Hillary still returns to help keep the village in order. It is on one such afternoon that Hillary gets a glimpse of Sara Kate’s real life, and all the responsibilities she has. Hillary realizes how lucky she is, not having to worry about things like Sara Kate has to.
After Sara Kate misses a few days of school, Hillary becomes worried and goes to check on her. This is the first time she’s been inside the Connelly home, and the first time she sees Sara Kate with her sick mother. Sara Kate throws Hillary out, after exacting a promise of silence; Hillary can’t even tell her parents what’s going on. With the weight of this secret on her young shoulders, Hillary finally really gets it—Sara Kate has to take care of herself and her mother, all alone. Through all of this, these two brave, young girls learn that every child needs an adult to look after them, and they all deserve the comfort and safety of home.
The cast for Afternoon of the Elves includes Margot Fenley as Mrs. Lenox, Katherine Fyffe as Alison/Mrs. Connolly, Sandy Greenwood as Jane, Emily Hunt as Hillary Lenox, Jennifer Lee Taylor as Sara Kate Connolly and Rory Walker as Mr. Lenox.
The production features directing by Linda Hartzell, music by Glyn Lehmann, set and costume design by Mary Moore, lighting design by Mark Shelton, and sound design by Chris Walker.