“Neverending Thrills… Considering the high calibre of the adaptation, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is the handiwork of David S. Craig.”
4 ½ out of 5 stars
—John Coulburn, Toronto Sun FULL REVIEW
Full length adventure for families.
Hiding in the attic of his school, Bastian begins to read and, unseen to him, the story is enacted below. Fantastica, a land of stories, is in danger; The Nothing engulfs everything in its path. The Childlike Empress chooses an unlikely hero, Atreyu, a boy of Bastian’s age, to go on a quest to save their world. Atreyu’s adventure takes him through the Swamps of Sadness, to Morla the Turtle, Ygramul, the Many, and the maze of the Southern Oracle. He loses his horse, Artax, but gains the friendship of Falkor, the Luck Dragon, until he faces the werewolf Gmork who is bent on the destruction, not only of Fantastica, but of imagination itself. But in the end, it is not Atreyu who is the hero. At the climax of the story, it is Bastian’s belief in a story, which takes the audience to the surprising and emotional conclusion.
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The Neverending Story has captivated the imagination of many since the original publication over 30 years ago of Michael Ende’s fantasy novel. The book remains on the Top 10 in Sales for Dutton Children’s Books, with 14 editions subsequently published by Dutton.
The three feature length film adaptations garnered the attendance of nearly 10 million people in North America alone. This story continues to generate the subject material for film, merchandise, game, and fan websites worldwide. Whether being captured in the world of Fantastica through the pages of a book, screen of a movie theatre, or see it come alive on stage, The Neverending Story continues to enthrall it audience.
This adaptation of The Neverending Story has been authorized by Verlag fur Kindertheater Weitrndorf, Hamburg.
My first exposure to The Neverending Story was through the famous film by Wolfgang Peterson released in 1984. My family loved the extraordinary characters, the two heroes (Bastian the fearful and Atreyu the brave), and the high stakes drama of Fantastica, a world of stories, facing destruction by the Nothing. But it was later, when I read the novel that I really began to appreciate the scope of German novelist Michael Ende’s vision. Ende believed that the imaginative journey was essential not only to our health but to our freedom and he did not, as modern literature for young people so often does, belittle the threat. As a boy, he had lived through the Second World War and as a teenager the Allied occupation. He knew happy endings are not guaranteed. They have to be earned. Like Frodo facing Sauron in The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter facing Voldermort in Harry Potter, Ende has crafted a hero’s journey where huge obstacles must be overcome with sacrifice, determination and, ultimately, with an act of imagination. I believe we are all on such a journey and it is in that spirit in which I present this play.
– David S. Craig
The Neverending Story was commissioned in 2006 by the Imagination Stage (JanetStanford, Artistic Director) and the Seattle Children’s Theatre (Linda Hartzell, Artistic Director). It was subsequently produced in the 2007/2008 season as follows:
West Coast Premiere: Seattle Children’s Theatre – December 7, 2007
East Coast Premiere: Imagination Stage – June 28, 2008
The play was subsequently performed by the following professional theatres:
The Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando, Florida – September 2008
The First Stage Theatre Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – March 2009
The Growing Stage Theatre for Young Audiences, Netcong, New Jersey – April 2009
The Childsplay Theatre, Tempe, Arizona – April 2009
The Dallas Children’s Theatre, Dallas, Texas – June 2009
Roseneath Theatre, Toronto, Ontario (directed by the playwright) — February 2012
Kaleidoscope Theatre, Victoria, British Columbia — December 2013