Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo stages ‘Fantastagirl and the Math Monster’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Adventure Theatre's 'Fantastagirl and the Math Monster' (Part 1)

It’s the first day of school for some kids in our region, and many others head back to class next week, so get ready to battle some symbolic monsters with artistic arithmetic!

Adventure Theatre stages the creative children’s show “Fantastagirl and the Math Monster” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland.

“It’s a story about encouraging children of all genders to overcome those things that may seem scary, especially math,” interim executive director Jeanne Ellinport told WTOP. “A monster is anything we try to avoid because it’s unfamiliar, but if you get to know it, it can become your friend.”

The story follows Fantastagirl, a second-grade superhero who uses words to save the day until she comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare: the Math Monster.

“Her superpower in the beginning is all about English,” Ellinport said. “She loves words. Her favorite book is the dictionary. Alliteration is one of her favorite things. She always defines words, and math is her nemesis. It’s all about overcoming your fears.”

The Math Monster is a friendly, furry, fraction-loving foe portrayed by a “phenomenal puppet,” Ellinport said. “It starts off as a light-blue puppet like ‘Fraggle Rock.’ … It starts off small as a puppet, then gets a little bigger, then gets into character as a full-blown person.”

You’ll also meet Calculating Sam, who’s a math whiz; Busy Beatrice, who is always on the go; kinetic twins Quinn and Finn, who are always in sync for comedy relief; and Fantastagirl’s mad-scientist moms, Dr. Herschel and Dr. Hoffman.

Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick, the production features a book and lyrics by Tori Bourtin, as well as music and lyrics by Madeline Belknap.

“As you can see, all females who may have had their own troubles as a kid,” Ellinport said. “Tori really hated math as a kid. She talks about it a lot and it was her nemesis, so she wanted to make sure that kids don’t go through the same fears that she went through.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Adventure Theatre's 'Fantastagirl and the Math Monster' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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