Marjorie Lyons Playhouse at Centenary presents "The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket"
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse presents Peter Parnell's play The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket September 29 through October 2. Logan Sledge directs this drama that the New York Post called "fresh and richly imaginative," a work that "explores the trauma of growing up from a unique and arresting point of view."
The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket opens with an exploration of the beautiful but sometimes brutal world of 12-year-olds, including Daniel Rocket, a child bullied and ostracized because of his uniqueness. Daniel believes that he can fly and is determined to prove this to his classmates by making an impossible flight from Hatch's Cliff. The second act leaps forward 20 years and the 12-year-olds are now 32. As Daniel returns to his hometown in search of something he feels he left there all those years ago, Parnell's script explores the ways in which we lose our childlike ambition to dream and achieve the impossible as a necessary evil of growing up.
Centenary senior Aiden Poling plays Daniel in the production, an opportunity that he calls "an honor."
"Daniel reminds me a lot of myself at 12 – or at least he's the 12-year-old I wish I could have been," says Poling. "He's a 'different thinker' with huge dreams, he is misunderstood and abused by his peers for it, yet he doesn’t care. He knows in his soul that he is meant for more than this world and is destined for bigger, better things. He has more confidence than most adults and is determined to do whatever it takes to get what he wants."
The personal connection he feels with his character has made portraying Daniel a highly emotional experience for Poling.
"The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket is a truly beautiful play because its messages are timeless and universally relatable —I, for one, cannot read through my script without tearing up!," says Poling. "On the surface, it's about a boy who can fly, but beyond that it's about staying true to oneself, the power of belief, love, fear, the lingering question of ‘What if?,' and so much more. Parnell explores both the magic of childhood innocence and the cruelty towards one another that children are capable of."
"The greatest thing about this show is that we get to step back into that childlike sense of wonder we all lost a long time ago," says sophomore Bailey White, who plays Daniel's mother, Judy. "My favorite quote is Judy's line about her son that applies to many other children trying be like Daniel Rocket: 'He crashed, just like everyone else.' "
The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket opens at Centenary's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse (2700 Woodlawn Avenue) on Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances are September 30 and October 1 at 7:30 p.m. and October 2 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at centenary.edu/playhouse/tickets or by calling the Box Office at 318.869.5242.