Students shush each other as the theater lights shut off then come back on again. Pretty soon the chorus of shh’s are replaced with gaps of silence, loud laughs, and the occasional aww’s from the female portion of the audience. Twenty minute previews for the Theater for a Cause production of “The Yellow Boat” were held in the Roundabout Theater all four periods on April 27.
“The Yellow Boat” is based on the true story of Benjamin Saar, an eight-year-old boy born with congenital hemophilia. The play follows Benjamin as he tries to lead a normal life at home, and then in the hospital after he contracts the AIDS virus from a blood transfusion. His vivid imagination and love of color and art help him throughout his struggles to express himself, both emotionally and physically.
SDA’s production of “The Yellow Boat” is a blast of color and creativity. The set was designed to look like a child’s play area and the colors are bright and elementary. Needless to say, the show definitely has a “Toy Story” feel. Audiences are taken back to when they were Benjamin’s age–where every thought was play, play, play and every fear was heightened to the point of imagining horrible outcomes. Although a serious play, “The Yellow Boat” is also undeniably funny and sweet. Watching high schoolers behave and speak like crazy eight-year-olds might have something to do with it. Or the fact that the small group of ensemble members are playing many different roles directly after the other.
“The Yellow Boat” premiered at the Roundabout Theater last night on Thursday, April 28. It is will play tonight, April 29, and tomorrow, April 30. All proceeds go to Conner’s Cause, a San Diego non-profit organization devoted to helping families with children who have life-threatening illnesses.