"You are you. No one else ever designed another system exactly like you. . . . No one ever could. No other `you' could ever roll off an assembly line or be boxed or delivered, or sold off a shelf or out of a catalog. Nothing about you is programmed the same as any other wonder of a system. You are one of a kind. You are your own hardware and your own software. You develop, you grow, you are an electronic amazement."
So says Emma Lou Thayne, in her script for "The Electronic Dance Transformer," Ririe-Woodbury's children's show."EDT" will be presented at the Capitol Theatre to several full houses of children from Utah school districts Monday through Thursday, Feb. 4-7. The general public may attend on Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5, $2 for children, or $15 for up to seven immediate family members.
"EDT" was commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Alliance for Arts Education, and it premiered in Washington at the 1986 Imagination Celebration. It then visited selected national cities as part of the Imagination Celebration tour and toured independently to several other cities.
But most of all, "EDT" continues to bring to Utah children a dazzling display of computer-generated graphics, innovative costumes, dynamic choreography and a score compiled from music of Mark Jackman, Lou Rovner, Harmonica Gold and Jon Scoville.
Though a frequently published writer and author in several mediums, Thayne has never before written for children - unless you count her stories about Chippie the Chipmunk for her own children, or traditional Honey Bear party stories for the grandchildren.
Nonetheless, her lively, exhilarating style and easy familiarity with computer lingo ring true to both science and childhood, whether expressed in prose or in clever verse.
"I never even saw a rehearsal before the premiere, but I was back at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts when the show opened in Washington, and I was able to go and see it come to life. I hadn't known what to expect, but it was exciting - the original score, the costumes, the dancing and the reception it received from a large crowd," she said. "The whole thing sent tingles down my spine!
"When they brought the show out again in 1990, transformers were out and Nintendo was in," she said. "I went to Fred Meyer and watched the computer games and picked up the jargon. A few minor alterations have brought the script up to date."
Thayne anticipates that as time goes by she may again have to update her script, as new developments in a fast-changing field continue to make her references obsolete. But that's part of the fun of this show; the script moves as flexibly and adaptably as the dance itself.