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Partying with pigs, hanging around with Keith Harris

by Mark Burger

The veritable and venerable Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem will be closing out its 2007-’08 season this week with a party.

Not just any party, but with the Tarradiddle Players (of Charlotte) and their special presentation of If You Give a Pig a Party, which will be presented Thursday and Friday in the friendly confines of the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive).

As remarkable as it may seem, the Children’s Theatre has been around for 68 years – next year marking its 69th birthday. Simply put, the Children’s Theatre is an institution – in the city, in the region, in the state and, yes, in the entire nation. Whole generations of young children have been entertained and inspired there, and over the years they’ve brought their children, and their children’s children.

According to the popular series of children’s stories by Laura Joffe Numeroff, if you give a pig a party, she’s bound to want it all: balloons, ice cream, a pillow fight… and then she’ll want to clean up. But she’s not done partying, and since the next room over is clean and pristine, just waiting for a party to happen…. Well, you get the idea.

But amidst the revelry, this little piggy comes to realize that it’s not a party without friends, so she decides to make her party everybody’s party! (Now there’s a concept that anyone of any age can get behind!)

Author Numeroff is renowned for such children’s books as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, so there’s clearly a popular theme going on here!

Showtimes are 10 a.m. and noon Thursday, 10 a.m. Friday – but be aware, the 10 a.m. Thursday show is already sold out. No kidding, the Children’s Theatre is (and remains) one of the hottest tickets in the Piedmont Triad, never mind Winston-Salem. These shows pack ’em in, folks, like nobody’s business. General admission is $8, reserved seats are $12. If you don’t get ’em now, you may not.

For more information about the Children’s Theatre, call 336.725.4531 or see childrenstheatrews.org.

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If you’re a regular reader of this column (I know I am), then the name R. Keith Harris ought to be familiar. He’s one of the most prolific and popular actors in the Triad (think Junebug or the upcoming Wesley or Fall Down Dead). Currently, he can be seen in the remake of April Fool’s Day (now on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), which was filmed in Charlotte. It’s not a large role, unfortunately, but it’s nice to see him. And if there’s a sequel (Yikes!), he can come back.

Later this month, Harris can also be seen on UNC-TV’s “NC Visions,” which presents films made by North Carolina filmmakers. Harris’ award-winning short film, “Harvest,” will be broadcast as part of the series. It’s scheduled to be shown during Episode 4, 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 24. And, for a double treat, the award-winning NCSA student film “Kilroy Was Here,” directed by Charles Boyles, and which was shown at the RiverRun International Film Festival a couple of years ago, will also be broadcast that night. One guess who the leading man in that film is… although, most of the time, he’s just hanging around.

As a matter of fact, the entire “NC Visions” series (which runs through June 21, eight installments in all), is a terrific primer for those interested in the talented filmmakers right here in the region. This marks the series’ 13th anniversary, and judging by some of the other films being showcased in the coming weeks – including Nicole Triche’s “Metacarpus,” Brett Haley’s “Sprinkler” (featuring one of the favorite performances of my late, great friend George Lee), Eyeborgs veteran Scott Kyger’s “They’re Coming,” NCSA alumni Karrie Crouse’s “The Tragedy of Glady,” Patrick Horne’s “Harrison Bergeron,” etc. – it ought to be a lucky 13. At the very least, TiVo this stuff, would you? You won’t be sorry! For more information about the NC Visions series, check out unctv.org/ncvisions/thisseason.html.

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