THURSDAY: Bud, Not Buddy

Solid and evocative performances in this exploration of family.

 TheaterBud, Not Buddy Ten-year-old Bud, adrift in Depression-era foster homes with only a battered suitcase of treasures and dreams of finding his family, sets himself on the road to adulthood searching for the man he believes to be his father, a well-known jazz band leader. Tears and humor permeate Bud's world by turns, a world he (as played by Earl Alexander) navigates with integrity, his wits, and plenty of luck, both good and bad. Solid and evocative performances by the entire troupe, under the earnest direction of Mark Zufelt, create real emotion onstage, and the characters make imaginative use of a simple yet flexible set. Adapted by Reginald André Jackson from Christopher Paul Curtis' novel of the same name (recently a selection for the Global Reading Challenge), the story is told through Book-It's unique narrative-dialogue style—the actors propel the story with personal asides and observations. The narration creates an intimacy with the characters and gives us access to Bud's powerful memories and imagination. His special rules for understanding the adult world are endearingly funny. His past gives him the strength to face the world, and he finds that his treasures are already enough to connect him with his real family, people who truly look out for each other. Book-It Repertory Theater at the Seattle Center House Theatre, 305 Harrison St., 216-0833, www.book-it.org. $15–$32. 7:30 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.–Sun.; also 2 p.m. Fri., Dec. 22. Ends Dec. 23. NEIL CORCORAN

 
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