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'Wanta-be' Discovers Who She Is

October 11, 1985|LYNNE HEFFLEY

In "Nobody Wants to Be a Wanta-Be!," compiled, adapted and directed by Julie Williams, 10-year-old Katie learns that dreams are great, but feeling good about oneself has to come first.

The Cal State Northridge Theatre for Young Audiences production is a trim, smoothly paced hour, nicely staged by Williams and creditably performed by a cast of young adults.

Overhearing schoolyard taunts directed at dreamy Katie (Julie Jacobson), mysterious, kindly old bag lady Willie Lee (H. Caroline Newman, in gray wig) asks Katie and her friends to meet at Mr. Jones' corner bookstore for a few object lessons in the importance of self-esteem.

There, with quick set and prop changes, the cast acts out three stories as Newman narrates.

In "Prezzettino," based on the book by Leo Lionni, Prezzettino or "little piece" (tall Homer Wiggins in red overalls) thinks he must simply be a part of a larger whole, but eventually sees that he can stand alone and be happy.

Ben Shecter's "The Discontented Mother" finds a hard-pressed Mom asking her active son if he'll ever change. To his mother's dismay, he turns into a cat, an elephant, a crocodile and more--each animal played by a different masked actor. (Jacobson gets the biggest laugh of the day as an outrageously greedy pig.) Finally, Mom does a little changing too and both are content.

Performed in black light, Norton Juster's "The Dot and the Line" is especially effective. Stuffy Line (Wiggins) is in love with Dot (Jacobson), who's smitten with irresponsible Squiggle (Erhard Scharfe). Line tries to become a Squiggle, but can't, then works at being the best he can be, achieving a dazzling array of angles and bends that wins Dot's affections.

The show plays in the campus Studio Theatre, 18111 Nordhoff St., Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.; (818) 885-3093. Ends Sunday.

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