Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Mark Penzak


Welcome to the greatest voyage ever. It's Jules Verne’s classic Journey to the Centre of the Earth –adapted by Mark Penzak and told through performance, comedy, mime, puppets, special umbrellas and an erupting volcano!

When young Axel discovers a tunnel descending into a volcano, his eccentric uncle Lidenbrock immediately launches an expedition accompanied by Hans, a gigantic Icelandic man and Gertrude, his intrepid duck. Together they traverse glittering caverns, escape hungry sea monsters and twirl down whirlpools. Can they reach the Centre of the Earth? Can they return? And most importantly for Axel, will Professor Lindenbrock let him marry his niece? A fantastic performance that awakens a sense of wonder in us all.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth was written in 1864 by Jules Verne and it's one of the first science-fiction books. In this adaptation, the audience will experience an exciting action story that isn't told through computer graphics but through simple ideas that require the audience to contribute their imagination - umbrellas that transform into vultures and locations that change through hand-cranked posters. The mechanisms are deliberately simple so that the audience see how everything works and feel like they could make everything themselves.

Thematically the play generates a sense of wonder and suggests that 'wonder' is the motor that drives discovery.

In Jules Verne's book, his themes include the idea that maturity is achieved through overcoming difficulties and that in order for responsibility to be given, responsibility must also be taken. In this stage adaption, another theme is added – that the sense of 'wonder' is a powerful emotion that drives discovery in science and self.

In an increasing screen-dependent society, this story encourages children to engage their imagination to see the mysteries around them and wonder how they might be explored. Theatrically, it is fun, exciting and demonstrates that human-to-human communication has a quality that cannot be replicated in other forms. Journey to the Centre of the Earth is one of the first science-fiction stories and is a strong vehicle for introducing the concept of genres.

There some scientific inaccuracies in this story. From a learning point of view, it’s a strength of this production – it prompts students to question and stimulates the discovery of true science. 

The accompanying teacher resource contains exercises and suggestions that explore the proper science. As children discover what's really in the centre of the Earth, their search can expand into geography, volcanology, gravity, atmospheric pressure and magnetic fields. This is a great platform for applied science. When the kids learn that the centre of the Earth is probably a molten iron sphere 6000c hot, can they design a machine that could survive that temperature?

Theatrically, the production contains a number of different storytelling techniques; puppetry, physical enacting, narration, prop work and telling stories through visual representation.

Victorian Curriculum links: The Arts - Drama, English, Humanities - Geography, Sciences,

Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

An exciting story from a famous book, that prompts wonder, stimulates imagination and encourages exploration.

Book now!

Metro: 27th May 2019 to 7th Jun 2019
Regional: 27th May 2019 to 7th Jun 2019

Mark Penzak
Duration: 50 min + 10 min Q&A
Artforms: Puppetry, Drama
Minimum fee: $1200 + GST LESS ELIGIBLE SUBSIDY for up to 120 students. Additional students $10 per head. Additional fees may apply
Suitability: prep, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, Year 6
Term: Term 2
Booking info: Technical Requirements: 2.5x3.5m stage, children sitting in front of the stage, full blackout preferred