City Week

Play in the Park/Park in the Play

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Thumbelina

6 p.m., Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22

Valley of the Moon 2544 E. Allen Road

323-1331; tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com

One of Tucson's most unique attractions, Valley of the Moon can conjure up images of a fantasy land as one strolls through the stone-lined garden oasis.

The compound has ramped up the magic this month, though, transforming into a backdrop for a classic fairy tale that every one of us has read and enjoyed. This weekend are the final performances of Thumbelina, the Hans Christian Andersen story of a little girl navigating a world of toads, moles, spiders and fairies. But rather than a run-of-the-mill rendition on a single stage, this version is played out throughout the Valley of the Moon complex. "For this event we're using the entire garden park for our stage," Valley of the Moon board president Zack Jarrett said. "Visitors will get to see the whole of the (park) but they'll get to see it in a different format. You'll see different scenes from the story as you move through. It's sort of an adventure tour through the grounds." About 30 volunteers will be putting on the play starting at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the performers ranging from infants (who play the baby fairies) to retirees. They'll act out scenes from the story, using the complex as live scenery. Jarrett said there's a certain "special magic" that happens at Valley of the Moon when theatrical performances are held. They're done twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, and serve as fundraisers to help cover the overhead associated with care and maintenance of the facility. "In the spring, we tend to gravitate toward fairy tales," he said. "To have a fairy tale come to life in a fairy tale land is truly magical experience." Admission for Thumbelina is $10, but children younger than 16 get in free. Showings have been going on since March 7, but this weekend is the final set of performances. After that Valley of the Moon will resume its normal schedule and only be open at dusk on the first Saturday of each month. The next outing will be April 5 and feature a campfire sing-along, with openings available for volunteers looking to lead the singing. Jarrett said he'd like to expand the hours and dates of Valley of the Moon, possibly within the next year. –B.P.

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