By Collin Kelley

One of the biggest delights of the 2011 arts season was Théâtre du Rêve’s adaption of the classic French film The Red Balloon. Every performance sold out, so it was a no-brainer that it would return in 2012. The production opens Jan. 27 and continues through Feb. 12 at 7 Stages in Little Five Points, but you’d better grab tickets now if you hope to catch this charming mix of live action and puppetry.

The proto-New Wave film directed by Albert Lamorisse was released in 1956 and has since become a beloved right-of-passage in frequent screenings at schools and on PBS. The story is simple: A lonely Parisian boy, Pascal, is befriended by “le ballon rouge,” which seems to be alive. The balloon follows him wherever he goes, waits for Pascal outside his school and often gets the boy in trouble for its willful antics. The balloon becomes Pascal’s best friend, until a group of envious bullies steal it.

The Center for Puppetry Arts’ Park Cofield (pictured) adapted and directed The Red Balloon for the stage. Cofield said he was “blown away” by last year’s audience response. “I was really excited that so many school groups want to come and experience the show with us and that it also touched adults, who feel so much nostalgia for the film,” Cofield said. “After the reception in 2011, it would have been a disservice if we didn’t bring it back.”

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.