Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Anthony Clark
Publisher: Oberon Plays for Young People
Estimated Runtime: 2 hours
Number of Characters: 24
Cast Requirements: 7 male 2 female minimum, parts for up to 28
Time Period: 1800s
Production Requirements: multiple set locations, period costumes, several period props (some specialty), sound requirements for musical numbers
When some children find a talking piece of wood in the forest, they take it to the woodworker, Gepetto who carves a magical puppet that can speak, talk, and think. Pinocchio is sent off to school, but instead he disrupts a puppet show, falls in with a dubious cat and dog that trick him into losing all his money, and is turned into a donkey on a magical island. The Blue Fairy helps Pinocchio to see the error of his ways, and he sets out to find Gepetto. When he finds him in the belly of a whale, Pinocchio uses intelligence and bravery to engineer their escape, and the Blue Fairy rewards him by turning him into a real boy.
The classic tale of a wooden boy with a very special nose has been faithfully adapted in this children’s play. The original Pinocchio was published serially and, with the author taking pains to stay very true to the original story, this shows in the somewhat meandering and non-cohesive nature of the script. In some cases, the dialogue is a bit repetitive. Still, the author has included colorful and memorable characters and lots of exciting action. Silly jokes and physical humor throughout the script will entertain young audiences, and they will relate to the young characters and some of the situations. Slowly but steadily, Pinocchio learns valuable lessons and we see the change in him as he becomes a stronger and better person. This character arc lends some continuity to the play.