Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Edward Mast and Lenore Bensinger
Publisher: Anchorage Press, Inc.
Estimated Runtime: 45 minutes
Number of Characters: 13
Cast Requirements: 6+, male or female
Time Period: modern day
Production Requirements: Dancers and actors needed, controlled lighting situations to create shadow dinosaur shapes on a screen, costumes pieces in shapes to aid shadow dinosaur shapes, sound system or musician.
Modern day dinosaurs are discovered under the earth’s surface when scientists from an oil-finding expedition break through the earth’s crust after an explosion. As the confused humans begin to understand and document their discovery, the dinosaurs discuss how they will deal with the new arrivals. Deciding that they must be related to the monkeys that cause all sorts of trouble they decide that they will have to eat – their word for kill – the humans to avoid disaster. While the dinosaurs plot, one scientist collects evidence and reveals his plan to exploit the dinosaurs for personal gain, not caring for their welfare. The other slowly warms to the creatures and eventually finds a way to preserve their secret world.
With a narrator to advance the story and to “translate” the dinosaur’s speech, dancers and actors use voice and movement to create realistic dinosaur and human characters in shadow behind a lit screen. Using depth perception to alter size, large and small creatures are impressively created, from normal size humans to gigantic creatures that tower over the humans with only feet and legs visible. Children will enjoy the spectacle of life-size dinosaurs. The fast-paced plot will keep them entertained as will the comedic and dramatic moments. Since controlled lighting is a must for this production it would be best suited to perform in a traditional theatre as opposed to a touring company which typically performs in varied and uncontrolled environments.