Flora & Ulysses
a play by John Glore
adapted from the book by Kate DiCamillo
directed by Casey Stangl
February 3, 2017 - February 19, 2017

Flora & Ulysses

Cynical ten-year-old Flora spends her time reading comic books and trying to understand her parents’ divorce. When a squirrel gets sucked up in the vacuum cleaner and pops out as a superhero that can fly—and write poetry—a villain-vanquishing, darkness-destroying, comic adventure begins! She names him Ulysses, and together they use his superpowers to fight evil. From the award-winning author of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Previews: February 3-10, 2017
Regular Performances: February 11-19, 2017

Recommendation: Grades 2-6. Theatre for Young Audiences … and Their Families is just that, a multi-generational experience for all ages (except children under the age of four and babes-in-arms). The only requirement is that each audience member occupies a seat and sits quietly through the performance while having a wonderful time. Flora & Ulysses contains strobe lights and fog effects.

Running Time: Theatre for Young Audiences performances are never more than 90 minutes.

Copyright © 2013 by Kate DiCamillo
Originally published by Candlewick Press
Used with permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.

John Glore (Playwright) has been SCR’s associate artistic director since 2005. He is an award-winning playwright whose work for young audiences includes Wind of a Thousand Tales, Folktales Too, Rhubarb Jam, The Day After Evermore and adaptations of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and The Night Fairy. His adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time debuted at SCR in 2010 and has since moved on to more than a dozen productions nationwide. His plays for adults include On the Jump, The Company of Heaven, Preludes and Fugues and City Sky (a scenario for a dance piece). With the performance trio Culture Clash, he has co-authored adaptations of two plays by Aristophanes, The Birds and Peace. His work has been produced at South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Children’s Theatre Company, the Coterie, the Getty Villa and elsewhere. He received a 2000 Playwrights Fellowship from the California Arts Council and has occasionally taught playwriting and related subjects at UCLA and Pomona College.

Kate DiCamillo (Author) was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week. After moving to Minnesota in her 20s, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie—her first published novel, which became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. Her second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Awards finalist. Since then, she has written for a wide range of ages including two early comical chapter-book series—Mercy Watson and Bink & Gollie—as well as a luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy. Her other novels include The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (#1 New York Times Bestseller), The Tale of Despereaux (Newbery Medal) and The Magician’s Elephant. Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures won the 2014 Newbery Medal, a 2013 Parents’ Choice Gold Award and was chosen by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year. DiCamillo was the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed by the Library of Congress, in 2014-15. Her latest novel, Raymie Nightingale, was released in April 2016 to rave reviews.

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.

Celeste Den (Donald Tickham/Ernie/Dr. Meescham). My favorite place in the world is the theatre because there is nothing more fun than making people laugh and cry through stories. It’s a great joy to be able to play pretend for a job, especially when it takes me to places I’ve never been, like London, San Francisco, Oregon and Hong Kong. But, no matter how far I go, I am always grateful to return home to SCR's stages, where I was last seen in the young audiences show, OZ 2.5. I also was at SCR in Trudy and Max in Love, Death of a Salesman and Chinglish—that last one is where I got to speak my first language, Chinese, on stage! It takes a lot of bravery to stand up tall and use your voice to speak the truth—in acting and in life—so I thank my family and friends for showing me what courage looks like and teaching me what strength feels like.

​​​Emily James (Flora). This is my second show at SCR and I’m thrilled to be back! The first show I did was called Mr. Wolf, where I played a 15 year old. In today's show, I play a 10-year-old girl, even though I'm actually 23 years old! In fact, the very first show I did, I played a 50-year-old woman! It was called Papa Was a Preacher and my character had zero lines, but I was so nervous I almost didn’t go on! Even though acting scared the bejesus out of me, I forced myself to continue. When I was 17, I transferred to the Youth Performing Arts School in my home state of Kentucky, where I majored in theatre and got to perform for a few hours each day. I had many teachers and friends who inspired me to play challenging roles and stretch my imagination beyond what I thought was capable. After high school, I moved out to sunny California and majored in acting at Cal State Fullerton. Since then, I’ve acted in many plays and a few films. Playing pretend will never get old to me, and I hope I can be an actor until the end of time!

Rudy Martinez (William Spiver). I am so excited to be back at South Coast Repertory in this fantastic play! The last time I acted here, I played a boy named Herb in Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells Batman Smells. I love acting! Being on stage or in front of a camera are my favorite things in the world. I’ve even acted in TV shows on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. I also love reading and I can’t get enough of my favorite book series, Harry Potter! I recently took a trip to London to see the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen. Some of my hobbies are reading, drawing in my sketchbook, puppetry, playing my ukulele and listening to music.

Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper (George Buckman/Alfred T. Slipper). I can’t believe this is my NINTH show here at South Coast Repertory! Hmm...let’s see if I can remember them all: The Light Princess, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Charlotte’s Web, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Night Fairy, The Borrowers, Lucky Duck and Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business. Whew! That’s a lot of shows, but boy were they fun! I’ve also performed for some other young audiences—like when I played the lead role in Ferdinand the Bull at the Main Street Theatre. I spend a lot of time going back and forth between California and New York City, where I was born. There, I get to do plays by Shakespeare, musicals (where I play guitar!), a ton of other new plays and even more musicals. I went to New York University for college and the High School of Performing Arts before that. I’m so lucky to have had so many terrific teachers, plus my mom and dad and everyone here at SCR!

​​Ann Noble (Phyllis Buckman). This is my fourth show at SCR, after The Light Princess, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Anastasia Krupnik. Since then, I’ve done The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which originally starred Lily Tomlin, but was re-imagined with a full cast and I played a woman with a terrible haircut; Stanley Ann, a one-woman show about Barack Obama’s mother, who led an incredibly courageous life (not unlike Edward Tulane!); and Hedda Gabler, a classic play about the original “mean girl.” My love for theatre started in high school, where I was blessed to have some wonderful teachers who fostered my interest in writing and performing in plays. In fact, that’s what I do when I’m not acting: I write plays and teach other people, even kids, how to write plays about themselves and the world around them. As an actor, I mostly work with my home theatre company, Antaeus (“ann-tee-us” rhymes with “come see us”!), where we do the “classics,” which are plays that are very old. While it’s fun to do new plays, it’s also wonderful to tell a story from a long time ago…today.

​​​​​​Jennifer Parsons (​​Tootie Tickham/Rita).

My mom always told me to imagine myself in the other guy's shoes. I guess she thought that if I understood how they saw things, I wouldn’t be so scared, mad or mean to them. In some cases, I was so amazed and inspired that I found the courage to stand up for kids when other kids weren’t being so nice. Exploring the perspective of another being (animal, plant or bug!) seemed like something I’d like to do for a living, so I became an actor. I have been in several Theatre for Young Audiences shows here at SCR: Anastasia Krupnik, The Borrowers, Sideways Stories, Bunnicula, James and the Giant Peach, The Only Child, Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, The BFG and The Brand New Kid. You also may have seen me as Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol and I’ve also appeared in many other plays, movies and TV shows.

​​​​​Alex Suha (​​​Ulysses). I was a circus clown once. I’ve also been a chimney sweep; it’s hard and dangerous work. I’m an only child. Even with friends, I had a lot of free time in solitude. So I just kinda danced around in my room a lot. I suspect that everyone dances around in their room sometimes, when no one’s looking. Anyway, I just kept doing that, even though I was a shy kid. Then in fifth grade, which seemed like a late start, I auditioned for the school play and I basically just did school plays until I was 28 years old. That means I did them in high school and then I did them in college at the University of Iowa and then did MORE plays and MORE college at the London International School of Performing Arts. Now I’m all grown up and nobody can tell me to be quiet or sit down and I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to go to the bathroom, which is awesome, ’cause I totally use that as an excuse just to leave the room, sometimes.
Creative Team
Casey Stangl (Director). I studied dance in the first grade and got to be on TV! That was in Iowa, on Bill Riley’s Talent Search. Each week, kids performed on the show and, if they won, they got $25 and a chance to compete at the Iowa State Fair. I made it to the State Fair several years in a row and loved watching all the talented kids. Even then, I knew that, though I loved singing and dancing, I didn’t really want to be a performer. I liked seeing how everything got put together and I imagined whole shows in my head, so I became a director. That means I choose who will be in the play, work with designers to help create the sets and costumes and help the actors create their characters. I like being the person out front, taking it all in and knowing that I helped to make it happen!

François-Pierre Couture (Scenic Design). I moved from Montréal (that’s right, Canada) to Los Angeles to complete my master’s degree in scenic and lighting design at UCLA in 2006. This redhead loves to imagine and make tiny models of giant sets so actors can play with them. I also like to hear the reaction of an audience when it discovers the stage for the first time. Aside from making a Princess fly in The Light Princess, shining colorful lights for Pinocchio at SCR—and designing sets in theatres like The Theatre @ Boston Court, Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City or Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.—I teach young and bright students at East Los Angeles College and Cal State Long Beach. If you want to know more about what I like (and what I don't like, such as whiny people and raw onions), you can visit me at fpcouture.com

Sara Ryung Clement (Costume Design). When I was just two years old, I started to pick out my own outfits. Pretty soon, I was telling my mother what to wear, too—although my mom did not always take my advice. I went to the Yale School of Drama to learn more about theatre, painting and how to turn drawings into costumes and sets. Now that I am a theatre designer, I work with the director to decide who wears what in a show and why they wear what they wear. You may have seen my costumes at SCR in OZ 2.5, Ben and the Magic Paintbrush or in Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business . I am glad to have the continued support of my parents, who still put my drawings up on the fridge.

Josh Epstein (Lighting Design). I have been working as a lighting designer for 16 years. In college, at the University of Chicago, I studied political science and did theatre as a hobby. Although I always loved the performing arts, it wasn’t until I moved to New York, and got my MFA from New York University, that my career really got started. Now, I travel the country and design lighting for shows from coast to coast. In Los Angeles, where I live, I have worked at places including the Mark Taper Forum, Pasadena Playhouse, Kirk Douglas Theatre and Geffen Playhouse. In addition to being a designer, I also teach lighting at UCLA. When I’m not working, I love to spend every free moment with my wife and three daughters.

Jeff Polunas (Sound Design). I am excited to be sound-designing this production at SCR. I have designed many TYAs including The Light Princess, Ivy + Bean: The Musical and Anastasia Krupnik. During the summer, I love working here with SCR's Summer Players, which I have been doing for the last five years. I attended San Diego State University and UC Irvine, where I earned degrees in theatre and sound design. I love what I do and have designed productions from San Francisco to San Diego. I enjoy taking the sounds we hear and creating something magical from it.

Lynn Jeffries (Puppet Design and Direction). I have always liked to draw and make things. When I was a kid, I made my own stuffed animals including some odd creatures, like a green felt sea anemone (I still have it sitting on my desk). I started to like theatre in sixth grade and when I got to college, I drew and made things for plays: first sets and then costumes and then puppets. When I graduated, I joined Cornerstone Theatre Company, which was new, with a bunch of my friends and we spent five years traveling around the country in a blue van doing plays with people in small towns, before moving to Los Angeles. I continue to draw and make things for Cornerstone and for other theatres. My last show here at SCR was The Borrowers, for which I made several tiny people and some giant animals.

Kaitlyn Pietras (​​Projection Design). I am a Los Angeles-based projection designer. I fell in love with theatre in high school; my drama teacher, Mrs. Bernardo, remains one of my favorite teachers of all time. I love buildings and I studied architecture at Clemson University. I decided that I missed theatre too much to pursue architecture, so I moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA and become a theatre artist. While at UCLA, I discovered the super cool world of projection design and now I spend most of my days using computer programs like Photoshop and After Effects. I have designed for shows all over the country and am really excited to be returning to SCR.

Andy Knight (Dramaturg). I work at South Coast Repertory as the associate literary director, a job that includes a lot of reading and writing. (But despite how it sounds, it’s actually a lot of fun!) One of the best parts of my job is the wide range of projects I get to work on, from plays for young audiences (like this one) to plays about former presidents to plays about telenovelas. And that’s just this year! I’ve loved theatre my whole life, especially the ways in which it requires an audience to use its imagination. Although I saw a lot of plays as a kid, I didn’t get involved in theatre until high school. But I haven’t stopped since then. I’m originally from Chicago, so I’m very thankful to be doing theatre here in California, especially at this time of the year. I hope you enjoy the show!

Julie Ann Renfro (Stage Manager). I grew up in Orange County and I attended Newport Harbor High School. I was inspired by my drama teacher, Gail Brower-Nedler, to study theatre and went on to receive my BA from Vanguard University. I worked on several other TYAs that you may have seen at SCR, such as The Light Princess, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Charlotte’s Web, The Night Fairy and Robin Hood. Usually, I can be found backstage moving scenery, helping actors in and out of costumes, and making theatre magic; but for this show I will be sitting in the booth behind the audience! When I'm not working on a play, I love to go camping, travel the world and have adventures!

The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this productions are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Alex Suha, Jennifer Parsons and Emily James in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
Alex Suha, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Emily James in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
Jennifer Parsons, Emily James and Alex Suha in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
Alex Suha in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
Celeste Den and Emily James in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
Emily James and Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper in 'Flora & Ulysses.' Photo by Christine Cotter.
video video
From the Blog
Flora & UlyssesHow to Find Everyday Superheroes—Just Ask Flora
Flora is 10 and a cynic; Ulysses is a squirrel who has superpowers. Their comic adventures help Flora make sense of the world around her.read more
Who's Who in Flora & UlyssesWho's Who in Flora & Ulysses
From a cynical little girl to a superhero squirrel, the world of Flora & Ulysses is populated with some of the most colorful characters. Meet the cast of characters.read more
John GloreAn Interview with Playwright John Glore
Playwright John Glore feels like a kid himself; that may be why he enjoys writing for young audiences. Read an interview with him.read more
Kate DiCamilloAn Interview with Author Kate DiCamillo
How a squirrel on the doorstep inspired Flora & Ulysses. Read the interview with playwright Kate DiCamillo.read more

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