Stirring imaginations

It was all about audience interaction and creative imagination during Kenn Adams Adventure Theater, the latest event in the Oakhurst Branch Library’s summer reading program.

The audience of about 112 children not only helped create the story line, but made certain characters come alive, and produced appropriate sound effects such as squeaks, ferocious roars, running, and opening castle doors.

Here’s how the story goes. Melanie Moe (played by audience member Haven O’Connor) is a cool kid. Everything about her is cool. She walks cool, talks cool, eats cool.

The coolest thing about her, though, is that she loves reading, especially when she “Reads for the Win” (this year’s summer reading theme).

One night, while reading a book on Greek Mythology, Melanie dozes off, and awakens to a blindingly golden light.

It turns out all the razzle dazzle is actually Hermes, sent by Zeus to ask for Melanie’s help in slaying a terrible monster. “What’s his name,” Adams asks the audience. “Poop-a-la,” a youngster yells out. And so Poop-a-la it is.

Melanie travels back in time and space, does some flying (sans plane), and finds herself on top of Mount Olympus, where Zeus arms her with a golden helmet and shield as protection on her perilous journey.

Her parting words before heading out: “I hope I don’t die.” The young crowd hopes she doesn’t either. After all, this is a daunting and frightening undertaking for such a brave young girl.

Along the way, Melanie receives help from strong Greek god (and son of Zeus) Hercules, and Athena, wise goddess. The trio encounter a cyclops (they poke out his one eye to slay him), a very old woman (who is really the young goddess of compassion), and finally, the dreaded Poop-a-la, who they easily defeat by collectively punching him once, which causes him to fall into murky waters.

Thanks to Melanie and her mighty team, all of mankind can breathe a colossal sigh of relief.

All fades but Melanie, who wakes to find herself back in her room, with the mythology book lying open on her lap. She’s left to wonder if her adventure really happened, was a figment of her imagination, or if it was all just a dream.

Adams, who confesses to being an avid reader himself, said, “A lot of my reading has inspired my improvisational theater, and that’s why reading is so important ... it inspires imagination.”

Details for future summer library events: (559) 683-4838.