The Hide and Seek Odyssey of Madeline Gimple

MADELEINE: . . .That Balloon Man frightens me,
because he hates me. Well, I hate him! . . .
And I hate Steve and all those kids who torment me!
I hate Hansel and Gretel Gimple, because they’re wherever
they are and not here! I hate myself for always being “it!”
I hate the world! I HATE EVERYTHING!


Madeline Gimple is an orphan who invents herself parents (Hansel and Gretel Gimple) and concocts all manner of outlandish stories about them to convince her and others that they truly exist.

At an orphan’s outing, in a playground (that becomes other places and other times in Madeleine’s odyssey), Madeleine is set upon by the Balloon Man, a villainous creature who is responsible for any number of nefarious schemes, including making people buy things just to create litter (in Litterville) and turning people into puppets (in Balloon Land). This, of course, complicates the life of the Litterman, Madeleine’s guardian on her odyssey, who, with Steve, Chris and Alphonse (three versions of the same character, and played by the same actor) contrives to save Madeline from the Balloon Man and to give him his comeuppance and, finally, to find her own strength in a real world, a world Madeleine is ready to face.

Filled with fast-paced action, charming songs and dazzling magic tricks, the play is a constant joy and a theatrical event, unique of its kind.

This was Raul Julia’s first role in an English play.