“You Are Not the Hobbit that You Were”

By on 6 July, 2018 in Art, Fun, Sarah Thornton with 0 Comments


 “The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

I have long been a lover of fairy tales and fantasy worlds. As a child, my love of reading sent me on many wonderful adventures into faraway lands such as Narnia, Wonderland, Oz, and that land filled with “Wild Things”. I traveled by phantom tollbooth to the Land Beyond and floated in a giant peach with spiders and grasshoppers. I visited the planet Uriel with Mrs. Whatsit and journeyed with Jonah on his quest for Elsewhere.

But the greatest adventure was the perilous journey to the Misty Mountain to reclaim the treasure from that terrible dragon. I was seized by the mystery of the lands unknown, fantastical creatures that felt as real as you or me, and the intrigue of stepping out of my comfortable home and seeing where the path might lead. I’ve always been a bit hobbit-like in my cherishing of simple and quiet comforts, and like Bilbo, would have been perfectly content to stay in my hole in the hill with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea with biscuits. As I hungrily turned the pages of The Hobbit, I found that Bilbo and I were learning the same lesson: even though it is scary and unknown, going on an adventure and leaving your comfort zone can change you in ways you would have never imagined.

In Middle Earth, there are many peoples: Hobbits, Men, Dwarfs, Wood Elves, Elves of the Valley, Goblins, Dragons, Trolls, and more creatures and monsters than can be catalogued here. For a time, these different races kept to themselves in their own corners of their world. It wasn’t until a common enemy surfaced that they realized they all had to work together for the good of all. Of course, with so many different cultures coming together, there are bound to be speedbumps and struggles on the road to unity, and not everyone is good. Yet, the lesson that the characters learn is extremely valuable. Not only do they begin to respect those different from themselves, but they are changed within themselves.

We have a very large cast of our production of The Hobbit, and it is made up of many different people of varying ages and backgrounds and levels of experience in the theater. Our biggest cast and crew to date, this show is quite an adventure already! I cannot help noticing how quickly everyone bonded and threw their hearts and souls into the project. The excitement surrounding every new development on the road is contagious and the building is practically buzzing all of the time. I always say, “theater is a team sport”, and this company has proved that time and time again. From the army of volunteers who have been building the incredible and imaginative set and props to the costume army to the amazing puppet army, to the cast of talented, passionate artists (adults and children alike), I am constantly in awe of how we’ve all come together for the shared goal of telling this beloved story. And, oh boy, are we having fun!

Just as our cast and crew have stepped out of their comfort zones to try something new by being in our play, our audiences will find their own thrill of a new adventure. This inventive world of the Playhouse’s Middle Earth might take you by surprise! The people sitting in the theater with you all come from their own worlds outside and their own backgrounds to share in this one moment together. Our community is strengthened by these shared experiences, and we hope the greater lesson of this incredible story finds new life in our current world. So, join us on this exciting adventure! “Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”

Get your tickets for J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT at the Cloverdale Playhouse, running July 19-July 29.

Visit www.cloverdaleplayhouse.org or call the box office at (334)262-1530 for more information.

Sarah Walker Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.


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