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Distiller brings Pinocchio to life

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Eleven-year-old King David Primary School pupil Caiden Distiller has no strings to hold him down, to make him fret and make him frown as he has been cast as one of three children to play Pinocchio in the Peoples Theatre production of Disney’s My Son Pinocchio running from 12 March to 21 April.

In the production, audiences are given a chance to hear the story of the Marionette puppet Pinocchio, brought to life by the Blue Fairy, who is changed into a real boy through bravery, honesty, and selflessness in a series of wild adventures.

This isn’t the first production that Caiden has been involved in, but it’s his first leading role. Caiden was in the production of the Dr Seuss musical Seussical and Shrek The Musical at the Peoples Theatre, and Winnie the Pooh at the National Children’s Theatre.

“I didn’t go to formal speech and drama classes, but when my school put on mini-plays in assembly, I always participated and sang. So I’ve always loved performing,” said Caiden. Caiden has been going to singing lessons at Elizca Coetzer Whiteside for a few months.

“I was excited when I heard I was going to be playing Pinocchio. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to jinx it. But then when I knew I was guaranteed the part, I told everyone,” he said. “They were excited for me. And the school said they wanted to come watch it.”

Caiden said the hardest part of preparing for the role was memorising his lines. “Pinocchio has quite a few lines. So, there was lots of practising and making sure I get them right. I’m still not 100% sure of them. But in all the shows I’ve done so far, I’ve got them correct. I had to practice the dances and the songs I had to sing.

“My main teacher has been so helpful, so has my Hebrew teacher. I’ll have a lot of schoolwork to catch up, but they send it home for me. And they make sure I understand every concept they’ve covered while I’m away.”

“We’re extremely proud of our very own Caiden Distiller who will star as Pinocchio,” King David Primary School Linksfield told the SA Jewish Report. “We wish him the best of luck for his performances.”

Caiden said that to prepare for the role, he had read the book Pinocchio a few times and watched a few short clips from the movies. “I haven’t watched the most recent Pinocchio movie because I heard it was quite scary,” he said. However, through being Pinocchio in this production, he has found new appreciation for the story, “Pinocchio’s a magical show for everyone in it. Everyone has big parts. And it’s a nice show,” he said.

“I’ve learned that if you put 100% of your energy into something, you get the result you put in. But if you put in 25% of your energy, then you get 25% back,” he said.

Caiden’s favourite part of being Pinocchio is at the end of the show, when he turns from a puppet into a real boy who knows “that I must always tell the truth and how important family is”.

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