Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
October 1 – 17, 2010
Bridge to Terabithia is a sensitive and emotional play about characters that rise above their weaknesses. Jess and Leslie both have a need to be accepted. He wants to appease his father and she wants her new school to view her as anything but an alien. In the woods near their homes, they create an imaginary land in which their friendship flourishes.
Appropriate grades 4th-12th.
Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s Youth Theater Director, Maria Chattin-Carter and actors Savannah McMahan and Alex Griffith talk about this latest youth Theatre Production.
“Bridge to Terabithia,” written by Katherine Paterson is based on a real-life event. She talks about her motivation in writing the story published in 1977 by Harper Collins:
“I wrote Bridge because our son David’s best friend, an eight year old named Lisa Hill, was struck and killed by lightning. I wrote the book to try to make sense out of a tragedy that seemed senseless.”
The character Leslie Burke is a fifth grader and new to the small town where the play takes place. Neither she nor Jess Aarons, her neighbor and classmate feel like they fit in. Leslie’s parents don’t own a TV although they have a library of books, some of which Leslie introduces Jess to. The two become great friends and create a fun-filled world of their own in the woods between their houses.
Maria Chattin-Carter says that “Bridge to Terabithia” is about their friendship and the imaginary world that Jess and Leslie create. When the author was asked in an interview posted here, “What would she like to see children doing more or less of today,” she responds:
Well, of course, I want children to read more. I am not of the throw the TV and computers on the dump school. I just feel that a life in balance is better than one that goes off the deep end in any direction. My admittedly limited experience on the internet and with computer “information,” has revealed that this is a rather shallow sort of knowledge and impersonal sort of human connection. I think great books and real live human beings do a better job of making us wise, compassionate people.
Listen to the Story: