The Rose's smaller upstairs Hitchcock Auditorium is the venue for "Balloonacy," an intimate, one-man, mostly nonverbal show, incorporating pantomime and clowning techniques (but no clown face makeup). The 30-minute play is suitable for the youngest of theater audiences, ages 3 and up.
Playwright Barry Kornhauser envisioned the show's character as the boy from the 1956 short film "The Red Balloon," all grown up. As an old man, spending his birthday alone, he is visited by a friendly, feisty balloon determined to be his friend. The balloon, plus audience suggestions, teach the old man to play again.
Kevin Ehrhart stars as the old man, and Shannon Wade is the story guide. Matthew Gutschick directs. "Balloonacy" won the American Association of Theatre in Education's distinguished play award.
" 'Balloonacy' captures a sense of what children understand and adults sometimes forget, which is that play is an essential ingredient to a fulfilling life," Gutschick said.
In conjunction with the Rose's production, Film Streams will show "The Red Balloon" Saturday through Jan. 22 to kick off its next Forever Young series of family films. "The Red Balloon" won the short-film Palme d'Or at Cannes and an original-screenplay Oscar.