By Carl Blumenthal
Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle
What do you get when you cross the back-to-the-farm values of the "Wizard of Oz" and Dr. Seuss's pro-environmentalist "The Lorax" in a contemporary world of boundless garbage? A lot of fun and fear for children of three to eight years old in a play with rhyming verses and Broadway songs by comedian and master composter Emmy Gay .
"Pistachio: A Brooklyn Girl Made of Trash" is the story of a young girl made from recycled trash who saves the world from unwanted garbage by demonstrating the best composting practices on an urban farm in the heart of Crown Heights. You might say it's a battle between slow and fast food or, as the characters ask, "Does food come from the ground or McDonald's?"
The play will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Imani Garden, 87-91 Schenectady Ave., two blocks south of Atlantic Avenue, between Utica and Troy Avenues. (Walk south from the Utica Avenue stop of the A/C train and turn right on Dean Street.) Admission is free. The Imani Garden is an urban farm complete with egg-laying hens.
With the help of farmer Gabby, the diminutive Pistachio takes on, with a combination of smooth and sassy talk, the ever-spreading, unrecycled Mr. Garbage, who is as blind in his profligate ways as, well, a chicken with its head cut off for McDonald's.
For example, when Garbage boasts, "Trash, garbage, filth and mirth/Look at me, I rule this earth," Pistachio responds, "Useless garbage doesn't exist on a farm/On a farm, garbage has a special charm."
Musical interludes include Woody Guthrie's “The Farmer is the One,” and the songs “Howdie Neighbor” and “Dig” made famous by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, respectively.
It might be an exaggeration to say Garbage is a re-incarnation of Dr. Seuss's epitome of corporate greed, the Once-ler, and of Frank Baum's Wicked Witch of the West. But Garbage meets his fate in a similar fashion.
The actors are: As Pistachio, Willow Bennison, a 10-year-old Brooklyn resident and student at the Special Musical School in Manhattan; as Gabby, Sabrina Francis, an opera singer and owner of Arlicia’s Music; and as Garbage, Catt Nesbit, personal trainer around NYC and teacher at the Round the Clock Nursery in Harlem.
Writer, director, and producer Emmy Gay is a Brooklyn mother, preschool educator, comedian and playwright. The Pistachio Project, a series of educational children's plays, began as an assignment for a course on permaculture and landscape design that Gay took in upstate New York.
The production is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the city Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council with help from the Pufï¬n Foundation and Green Phoenix Permaculture Inc.