By Cherie Bennett.
Cast: 25 plus extras. Commissioned by First Stage Milwaukee, Zink is about true courage in the face of unpredictable predators. In an age where too many are quick to confront fears and differences with senseless violence, Zink exemplifies the importance of tolerance and acceptance. Imaginative, funny, and heartbreaking, this allegory features a pre-teen girl with leukemia and a herd of talking African zebras whom she meets when she is diagnosed with her life-threatening illness. The zebras include street-smart Ice Z, grandfatherly Papa Zeke and pompous Zilch, along with Shlep, a furry green monkey who's certain he's also a zebra. The zebras recount to her their legend of Zink, a mythical polka-dotted zebra once an outcast but later a hero. As Becky's condition worsens and she is mistreated by some classmates, she zaps back and forth between real life and the zebra world, until the shattering, breathtaking, and uplifting climax. Never maudlin, Zink is a "clear case of theatrical risks bringing great rewards" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). "Brilliantly exposes important themes while avoiding cliches. Superb" (Milwaukee Shepherd). Suitable for ages 8 and up. Simple, flexible cast.