Oregon Children’s Theatre latest show, “Tomás and the Library Lady,” is a fun, entertaining performance about the love of language and books. My son and I were delighted by the performance.
The show tells the story of a young family of migrant workers from Texas, who journey north to Iowa to pick crops. Tomás is the oldest son, and he works alongside his family in the hot, dusty fields, dreading the day when he has to go back to school where he doesn’t speak the language (English).
One day, Tomás’ mother sends him into town to deliver a letter, and he discovers the local library. “Carne-gie Library,” says Tomás. “It’s a meat library?” (Carne is Spanish for meat, the audience learns.) He is welcomed into the library by a curious and kind librarian, who teaches him how to use the library’s books to learn English. In the process, Tomás teaches The Library Lady a few words in Spanish, and their friendship grows over their shared love of language, learning and libros.
One of the lovely things about the show is that a good chunk of the play is performed in both Spanish and English, so the audience can learn new words right along with the main characters.
“Tomás and the Library Lady” is charming and witty with catchy songs, laughs, and engaging actors. Parents with very young children should be aware that a good third of the play takes place in semi-darkness, and a large paper mache head of a teacher with a scary voice sometimes looms about 10 feet over the stage during Tomás’ nightmares.
These slightly frightening moments aside, this is a good play for families, clocking in at about 60 minutes and performed in the beautiful Winningstad Theatre, a jewelbox of a theatre located in downtown Portland. “Tomás and the Library Lady” runs from April 1-23, and tickets range from $14-28. Arrive a bit early to join in on a Spanish storytime with Portland Early Learning Project, and stay a bit late to get autographs from the cast!
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