Written and performed by local, professional artists, “Giselle la Trent the Gazellephant” is a humorous and heartfelt 40-minute children’s musical about a girl named Giselle on her first day at a new school. Half gazelle and half elephant, Giselle is not your typical fourth-grader, and she wants nothing more than to start off on the right foot at Thomas Girafferson Elementary (things haven’t gone so well at her other schools). Well, there is one thing she wants more than anything else: to be a world famous rockstar! But when Margaret the Cat and Gore the Warthog don’t like Giselle’s rockstar dreams, they bully Giselle into competing in a rockstar showdown. The surprising results send Giselle into a spiral of fears and problems she doesn’t know how to fix. Even her teacher, Ms. Pronunciation, can’t provide the comfort she needs. Not until a visit from a wise Dalmatian named Wags inspires Giselle to accept herself for all of her wonderful uniqueness does she learn that it’s easier to be nice to others when you’re also nice to yourself.
“Gazellephant” encourages children to analyze conflict and relationships they see in the musical and recognize them as situations they have experienced or have seen in real life. As the characters in “Gazellephant” learn and grow, they exemplify actions and understanding that students can exhibit in developing greater emotional intelligence and showing empathy toward others. Filled with funny references for teachers, too, “Gazellephant” has points of access for everyone watching, using the power of shared experience and the safety of story as a scaffolding on which counselors and other trusted adults can guide discussions about kindness and friendship. And the catchy songs that fill the show keep its life lessons in the students’ consciousness long after the performance ends.
Based in Raleigh, NC, Aggregate Theatre Company was created in 2017 with the mission of developing a younger (youth and young professionals) theatregoing audience in the Triangle. To date, Aggregate has produced ten shows, including eight world premieres. Aggregate’s productions have been eclectic in nature, varying from traditional stage plays (“The Stonewater Rapture”) to immersive workshop performances (“Vanya in Los Feliz”) to interactive experiences (“In Good Taste: Shakespeare at Brewery Bhavana”) and children’s productions (2018 Children’s Theatre Series). In addition to theatrical productions, Aggregate also has produced multiple audio dramas (“Stuck Stories” and “Giselle la Trent the Gazellephant”) and developed a theatre education branch that goes into schools and other public and private organizations to share the joy and inspiration of theatre.