By Melanie Ridgway
One year ago, I noticed a similarity in my course syllabi for Intro to Theatre for Young Audiences I and Masters of Modern Drama: both courses were scheduled to read The Transition of Doodle Pequeño by Gabriel Jason Dean. If this play was considered worthy material for both a TYA course and a play about “masters,” I knew it had to be worth reading. I was right; it was love at first “bahfoogee.”
The Transition of Doodle Pequeño is a magic-filled, multiple award-winning play for all ages about two boys who become friends in spite of their differences. It’s Halloween and Doodle is the new kid in the neighborhood. Accompanied by his imaginary goat, Doodle befriends Reno, a boy who is unpopular with the neighborhood kids because he likes to wear dresses. A blend of English, Spanish and “Goat,” this comic play takes a heartwarming look at the consequences of misused language and interrogates the issue of gender-bullying.
After reading through this play the first (and second) time, I was amazed at the risks this play took, especially considering it was a play for young audiences. Gabriel Jason Dean approaches some very heavy topics, topics that even adults are afraid to talk about. Despite its heavy content, the story is still hilarious, playful and engaging. I needed to bring it to life.
Doodle has been performed in readings and workshops at universities like Northwestern and The University of Texas, but I was surprised that it had not been performed yet in New York. Thanks to the support of Lamplighters (NYU’s Theatre for Young Audience Club) and the leadership of director (and my dear friend) Kathleen Turner, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño is finally getting its New York debut! As opening morning approaches, I could not be more proud of the hard work put in by the cast and production team. It’s been a beautiful journey and when those lights come up next Saturday, one year’s worth of waiting will finally be over.
The Transition of Doodle Pequeño will be performed on November 22nd at 10 am and 1 pm and November 23rd at 2 pm. The performances will take place at 238 Thompson Street (GCASL), Room C-95. Reserve your seat here: http://transitionofdoodlepequeno.eventbrite.com/