Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap

The Riddle Machine, a stage play

SYNOPSIS ... PRODUCTIONS ... ABOUT THE PLAY ... BIBLIOGRAPHY

Synopsis

The Riddle Machine is a children's play about growing up. Cara, Hap, Ug, Casper and Polly are on a spaceship taking them to a new world. Watching over them is Robot, acting as a metaphorical parent. Before they can enter their new world, the children must answer the riddle put forth by the riddle machine: "What is the greatest riddle of all?" The controlling Robot tries to prevent their quest for freedom, telling them repeatedly not to be naughty or cheeky or disobedient, and trying to mould them as she (or he, as the Robot was performed by both men and women) sees fit. The children learn that being "good" is not always what is best, and the new world they are flying toward is really adulthood.

The working title for this play was Out of This World!

The Riddle Machine flyer

Theatrical Productions

1. Holiday Theatre, Vancouver, 1966.

Directed by Robert Sherrin
Cara
Brenda Ellis
Dove
Teresa Sneed
Hap
Robert Sime
Robot
Dorothy Davies
Ug
David Stein
Lolly
Jane Heyman
Polly
Paddy Campbell
Casper
Nicky Orchard

2. Holiday Theatre on Tour for Festival of Canada, directed by Joy Coghill. (see cast credits to right)

3. Playhouse Holiday, Vancouver, directed by Gloria Shapiro, 19??.

Also had a theatrical run in Chicago, and was performed at Expo '67 in Montreal.

 
Cast

Riddle Machine production still

 

About the Play

I had been asked to write a children's stage play--my first--by Miss Joy Coghill, a remarkable woman who is responsible for so much innovative work in Canadian children's theater. I began with some vague idea of monster children and the general theme of growing up--and was working out conventional plots, with castles, fairy godmothers, witches, and so on. Miss Coghill said, "Make it new!" and so, in the end, I came up with a play which, Miss Coghill says, broke almost every rule of children's theater at that time.

-Betty Lambert

 

Riddle Machine production still

Bibliography

Lifton, Betty Jean (ed.), Contemporary Children's Theater, New York: Avon Books, 1974, pp. 377-438.

Contemporary Children's Theater

Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap