The challenge of being different but eventually finding one’s place is a common theme in literature, especially children’s literature.
It is at the center of Lumina Studio Theatre’s production of “The Point,” a fable about a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village. By law, everyone and everything in the village must have a point, geometrically. The fable follows the adventures of Oblio and his dog, Arrow, after he is banished from the village.
“The Point!” started as an album by songwriter-musician Harry Nilsson, and was then made into an animated film in the 1970s, said Catherine Horowitz, who is codirecting the production with Sophia Varnai.
The play was originally adapted from the film by former Lumina directors in the early-2000s, separately from the Esquire Jauchem version. “The Point” was restaged for their one night only performance on July 19 at the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre and use their groups of young actors as performers, the directors said.
“We originally wanted to do the show for practical reasons: we had 12 campers, and ‘The Point’ had enough characters,” said Varnai. “Once we read the script, though, we realized just how much fun it was and how much potential it had. It was simple but was also a good creative challenge for us both because there are so many ways to add onto it. And there are lots of memorable characters for us and the actors to play with.”
The story also gave Lumina room to experiment with costumes, projections and musical sequences, she added.
For all that was appealing about it, “The Point” was not without its challenges.
“One of the biggest ones is the fact that we had only three weeks to put on these shows,” said Horowitz. “We have so many ideas, and there’s always so much to be done with teaching dances, having lines memorized, gathering props. We’re working with a younger group, and so it’s important to us that we also create a positive camp experience in addition to putting on high-quality production.”
Balancing all of that is the growth the directors see the actors undergo throughout the process.
“After doing the shows, it’s always so gratifying to see how proud they are of the work they did, laugh about funny moments and talk about how much fun their friends and family had watching them perform. There is no better feeling than knowing we had the chance to give them the experience of doing these shows and developing such a tightly knit cast community along the way,” Varnai said.
The two directors have seen both sides of the theater scene at Lumina. They started as actors in middle and high school and are now staging shows for the fourth summer at the theater.
Since most of the actors in “The Point” were not familiar with the story via the album or movie when rehearsals started, it was also an opportunity to make them familiar with it.
“The message of ‘The Point’ is that everyone has a purpose (or a “point”), regardless of their differences, or how society decides to value them. As they say in the show, ‘you don’t have to have a point to have a point,’” said Horowitz.
“This message of love and acceptance is timeless—these kids are in a period of their lives where things in the world seem confusing as everything changes around them,” Varnai said. “So the message of finding meaning in everything, even when it’s not immediately apparent, is especially relevant.”