'Titus' at the Painted Bride Art Center

See "Titus" at the Painted Bridge Art Center in Philly May 19-22.

Ten-year-old Titus has no shortage of stories to tell — about his challenging relationship with his dad, his love life and the loss of his mother and grandmother — and he spares no detail with each one as he speaks from the ledge of his school’s roof. The mystery of what might happen next quickly quiets the young audience.

He spends the entirety of the 45-minute monologue there during Titus, a production at Philly’s Painted Bride Art Center, May 19-22, aimed at ages 10 and up. With ample energy and jokes to keep kids engaged, the performance tackles heavy topics, from grief to heartbreak, from a perspective that’s entertaining and earnest.

“There are a lot of aspects of this show that ring true for everyone who’s experienced some form of loss,” says Scottish actor Gavin Jon Wright, who has played Titus for classrooms and theaters here and abroad. “Everything he does,” whether it’s writing his thoughts — except one — all over the walls of his bedroom or asking too many questions, “is a coping mechanism.”

The production is part of PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences’ PAPAYA at the Bride International Family Series. After the production, families can head to the on-site “PAPAYA Lab,” where artists help kids act out their own response to the show.

“This is intended as a kids’ show,” Wright notes, “but it talks directly to them instead of down at them, and that makes it interesting.”

Categories: MK Memo