Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daring to Dream - Book Review

Daring to Dream
by Diane Dupuy
(self published by) Beyond Backlight Inc 2004

This is the story of the foundation and creation of the Famous PEOPLE Players theatre.

We have heard of the Famous Players Theatre, right?
This is the group that does the fluorescent puppets and black light plays.

Well this book is about the Famous People Players written by Diane Dupuy who dreamed up this group, founded it and got it started.

In the late 1960s Diane was doing Puppet shows at the CNE - the canadian exhibition - held every August. Diane investigated blacklight and discovered that noone else in Canada was using Blacklight, so she decided to fill a niche. Bill Cosby visted the CNE one year. It was Bill Cosby's suggestion to Diane that she try black light.

Diane describes how the group began with Liberace - using a Liberace puppet moving in blacklight to a Liberace song. It was a hit with audiences and Diane eventually managed to catch the interest of Liberace himself. He supported the group financially and emotionally. The FPP also performed with Liberace in his Las Vegas shows for a number of years.

The FPP began in 1974 and this year (2009) the group will celebrate its 35th birthday. One of the shows currently taking place is their own story. The FPP has been supported by a number of celebrities - inculding Liberace in the beginning and more recently Paul Newman - for 20 years until his death in September last year.

Now Playing
The Story of Famous PEOPLE Players
January 13 - May 2009

Voiced by legendary actors Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Andrea Martin, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Al Waxman, Catherine McKinnon, Michael Burgess and special performances featuring Diane Dupuy as herself. Music composed by the late and great Dr. Music Doug Riley.

This musical is performed under the illumination of black light with animal puppets portraying the roles of each member of Famous PEOPLE Players.

This show is an inspiring musical based on the true evolution of Famous PEOPLE Players. Troubled youngster Chloe, a wildflower, is sent to perform community service with the troupe. Through her eyes, we watch Diane Dupuy not only rehearsing her special cast, but providing the support and discipline they need to overcome the daily challenges in their lives. Chloe's relationship with Diane and Famous PEOPLE Players, though difficult at times, shows her that hope can survive and flourish in the most unexpected of places. Something as small as the beam from a single porch light can make the difference to a soul searching for care and guidance.

I have not been to this theatre at all. But then the reservations are rather prohibitive. Mind you - these prices DO include dinner as well. All prices DO NOT include taxes.

Adults $54.50
Seniors $47.50
Children $39.95 (Children ages 12 and under)

The FPP have performed on Broadway, and at Radio City Hall in New York City.
They have also been to China and a few other countries.

The really interesting part of this story is that the players are for the most part mentally handicapped. Diane herself seems to have had a disability of sorts - either Dyslexia or ADHD - going by what she describes about herself. However she never puts a name to her own disability.

Diane describes the frustrations of teaching handicapped people how to hold a puppet, how to move to music, how to act and how to wear the black all enveloping clothing they must wear under the black light. This includes a black hood over the head with small black screen openings for the mouth, nose and eyes. It is easy to feel claustrophobic inside this hood.

I dont mean to be advertsing, but I really really enjoyed the book.
It's 400 pages long and I read it in 2 days - I could NOT put it down.

My copy of this book has been signed by Diane Dupuy.
On the title page right after Daring to Dream, she added - means never giving up

I read this book for the second Canadian Book Challenge.

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