Maddi’s Fridge Left Us Full of Compassion and Taught us New Lessons

It is often difficult to navigate social issues with a children’s platform – Maddi’s Fridge takes a prevalent problem in our society and manages to include humor and friendship to soften the subject and bring a smile to the audience’s faces.

I took my 10-year-old daughter to this play, and admittingly we had not read the story and did not know the message. I was pleasantly surprised by the thought provoking conversation that this performance sparked on our car ride home, and felt my daughter was the perfect age for this story.

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Maddi and Sofia are best friends. Every night after school, each go home to a parentless environment due to work hours. Maddi is an only child and is responsible for chores and homework on her own, while Sofia has her younger brother Luis and dog Pepito to attend to. The split set in the theater allows viewers to see how the evening unfolds for each of the characters in order to express the mindset of a family who lives with less and a family who lives more comfortably. Maddi has bread and milk to eat, as her mother is awaiting payment from work which has not come yet, while Sofia provides her brother with nutritious, balanced meals that her mother has pre-prepared for them.  She often deals with issues that many children take for granted, like her brother wasting food, being a picky eater and begging for special treats like cheesy pizza bombs.

After realizing that Maddi has no food to eat, Sofia tries to be a good friend by stealing food from her own home to help Maddi out, and more importantly, by keeping her food situation a secret, per Maddi’s request. This builds to a dramatic conclusion which ends in Maddi reaching out to a trusted adult to help.

The question to children in the audience is simple – when is it ok to tell a secret? If someone is in danger? If it’s an emergency? If you are worried about a friend and ill equipped to help on your own?

A heavy subject – yes, but a crucial one for our kids. Maddi and Sofia learn about strength – sometimes, you are stronger to admit you need help then trying to deal with a situation on your own. Friendship means guiding each other and not always keeping a secret.

My daughter left this play wanting to donate food to a local shelter and we discussed how we might help heed warning signs if someone we care about seems to be in trouble.  I think most parents would agree, that makes Maddi’s Fridge a huge success.

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