Free Education Guide!
Teachers and educators, download our free PDF education guide for this show, which will help you incorporate Chatterbox into your classroom!
Written by Robert Arnold, Executive Director.
Cast & Crew
Mother Rigby: Matty O’Shea
Feathertop: Odell Atkinson
Polly: Karen Strachan
Justice Gookin: Barclay Roberts
Sarah: Jane Harris
Musician: Jeanne Simmons
Producer: John Hiltonsmith
Assistant Director: Karen Strachan
Adaptation: Robert Arnold
Director: Robert Arnold
Announcer: Tom Badgett
Artist: Amy Hutcheson
Special Thanks to:
- The Bloodworth Studio at Memphis University School
- 91.1 WKNO-FM
- Amy Salerno Hale, Kell Christie, Debbie Litch, and Michael Compton of Theatre Memphis
- Sarah Fleming and Christopher Reyes of Live from Memphis
Spoiler alert! Don’t read these notes if you don’t want the ending of the story revealed.
A mirror. A looking-glass. A polished surface reflecting light. And images. An echo.
Mirrors are the eyes of those around us, reflecting back what the world sees. They are morphing and miming portraits of who are we on the outside. Some are wonderland portals. Some are symbols of superstition. Some create depth or distortion, but even these are variations of the superficial self, bouncing back what is on the surface.
For Hawthorne’s Feathertop, a mirror is a reflection not of the outside, but the in. Not surprisingly, the world of man is tricked by the scarecrow just as Mother Rigby had hoped to trick her garden of crows. For the crows, the human form and garb would suffice. For the world, the magical addition of language and manners casts the spell. For them, Mother Rigby sardonically sends in as the wooden horse one of their own, a pumpkinhead whose words are no more substantial or lasting than the magic coal in his pipe, nor than the words and whims of his flesh-and-blood admirers. Yet rather than fearing what they falsely see as a gentleman, it is the lack of magic and the reflection of truth that is so repulsive. The man of sticks and straw is revealed for what he truly is, what he is made of, and as the adage goes: it’s what on the inside that counts. Or perhaps it’s actually what one does upon discovering what’s on the inside that counts. For in that choice in the face of reality lays the real humanity, the real hope.
Though the awakening turns tragic, this tale is not a tragedy. Smoke and mirrors are not the villains here, and arguably, neither are any of the characters. “Feathertop” is a silly and fanciful story, and as we are present from the creation of our innocent hero, so are we ever the wiser throughout his (mis)adventures… and more entertained for them. Sometimes it just takes a little reflection to see things as they really are.
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