Leaving the Hundred Acre Wood

Leaving the Hundred Acre Wood

May 6th, 2011 by Holly Leber in Chattnow Art

IF YOU GO

What: "The House at Pooh Corner."

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 22.

Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 200 River St.

Admission: $8.

Phone: 267-8534.

Website: www.theatrecentre.com

Perhaps it's appropriate that a play about going through changes, moving on to the next chapter of one's life, is based on a beloved book.

"We have to go to the next chapter in our lives," said Maria Chattin-Carter, who directs "The House at Pooh Corner," based on the book by A.A. Milne, at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, opening this weekend.

She said reading the Winnie the Pooh books with her kids had inspired her to pursue the stage version of the story.

"I've not read another book like it," she said. "They're such that an adult can appreciate them, but they're also geared toward children. It connects on many levels."

In the story, a few essential things take place. The character of Tigger is introduced, the titular house is built and the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood must say goodbye to Christopher Robin, who is leaving to go get his education. The play focuses a bit more on education, and the boy's departure, than the book.

"The underlying theme of the story is going through change," Chattin-Carter said. "We have this young boy who is having to go off to something he doesn't know. But if you have friends around you, you can make these changes and it might not be as scary."

Chattin-Carter has spent time discussing the chaos of the characters' lives - an old friend leaving, a new friend coming in, learning to allow oneself to rely on one's friends - with her young cast, who range from third to 12th-graders.

"Our main discussions have been 'How would you feel?'" she said. "What emotions would come up if something like this were to happen?' We tried to keep it as true to how they would feel in life if something like this were going on with them."