ANTONIO S & THE MYSTERIOUS THEODORE GUZMAN by Odo Hirsch

ANTONIO S & THE MYSTERIOUS THEODORE GUZMAN

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Even readers with little interest in the theater will be drawn into this portrayal of the creative process. Ten-year-old Antonio is intrigued to learn that old Mr. Guzman in the ground-floor apartment is a renowned actor. When knocking on his door proves fruitless, Antonio decides to attract his attention by putting on a play in the building’s yard. Antonio knows next to nothing about plays or acting, but as he prods four equally clueless friends into talking and thinking, brainstorming, posing problems, and proposing solutions, gradually something wonderful begins to take shape—a simple comedy that continues to grow and change even while the children are performing it before an audience of parents and local residents. Guzman sees, and applauds, and invites Antonio into his apartment where another wonder waits: a hidden room, in which Guzman can re-enact each of his significant performances on a small stage with casts of exquisitely carved figurines. In an all-too-brief tutelage before falling ill and dying, Guzman introduces Antonio to the essentials of creating a role, of developing narrative, even of stage design. It’s only a bare beginning, but enough to change Antonio in profound ways. Gary L. Blackwood’s Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000) and Kate Gilman’s Jason and the Bard (1993) vividly capture the brawl and excitement of theater, but in its own restrained, contemplative way, Hirsch’s US debut may teach readers more about its soul. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0747-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001




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