Tuesday, May 8, 2012

eric carle's treasured stories treasured by performers and audience alike

i took the kids (yup, all four of them) to see a moon, a brown bear and a caterpillar: treasured stories by eric carle on saturday.  i was nervous about how lilianna and zoe would do.  zoe is considered a little too old for the production so i was worried that she would be totally bored.  lilianna freaked out a little bit at the last play we attended so i was wondering how she would do with this one.

as the time came for the play to begin, i was so happy to hear that this would be a "non-shushing production."  you kind of figure that with children's theatre, but it was nice for everyone to hear that this was the kind of production where interaction with the story and the characters would be encouraged.

lilianna took the "non-shushing" to heart.  even though the entire performance is done in the dark with black light used to highlight the characters and scenery, lilianna was totally engaged for the entire hour.  she informed me (each time) that the very hungry caterpillar was "still hungry" and wondered what else he would eat.  she called good-bye to each piece of fruit and to each animal that was "seen" in brown bear, brown bear, what do you see.  she was very concerned about papa's whereabouts when he wasn't on stage in papa, please get the moon for me, and called out to him over and over again.  all this was considered perfectly acceptable (and was totally hilarious to me).

zoe, on the other hand, spent the majority of the show trying to work out how the puppets and effects were managed.  she was totally engaged, not just with the story, but figuring out the "tricks."  unlike other magic shows, all was revealed at the end of this performance.  the puppeteers came out on stage after the show to answer questions, show off the puppets and how they worked and let the kids experience themselves under black light.

i have only positive things to say about this performance.  the performers obviously have a love for eric carle and his stories, so they have done an amazing job remaining true to both the story and the artwork.  like eric carle, they seem to have an insider track into the way kids' brains work, and this play is suitably geared for the younger set.

as a reminder, performances are may 2-27, 2012 on the victory gardens biograph theater mainstage, 2433 n. lincoln avenue, chicago:  tuesday through thursday at 10:15 am; friday at 10 am and noon; saturday at 10 am, noon and 3 pm; and sunday at 11 am and 3 pm.  

tickets, $15 - $41, are on sale now.  for tickets and information, go to chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call the victory gardens box office, 773.871.300.

in addition, chicago childrens theatre is teaming with open books for a brown bear, brown bear book drive.  theatre-goers are encouraged to bring new or used young children's books.  to raise awareness, three celebrity readers have been invited to read a favorite eric carle story before three saturday performances:  pat quinn, governor of illinois, will read on may 12 at noon; wgn-tv around town reporter, ana belavel will read on may 19 at noon; and ralph covert from ralph's world will read on may 26 at noon.

this mother's day dad's can give moms a break by taking kids to see a performance at 11 am or noon.  after the performances wishcraft workshop  (2312 W. Roscoe) will be on hand to help kids make crafts in the style of eric carle.

i received free tickets for me and the kids in exchange for posting this information and writing this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own. 

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