Childsplay’s A Wrinkle in Time

I grew up in a small town and some of my best memories of that small town was spending time at the public library. The library was in a wonderful old, stone building that was delightfully cool in the summer.  It was there one summer that I first read “A Wrinkle in Time”. I still can recall what an escape the story was; one of time travel and a dangerous mission to save someone.

So when I saw that Childsplay was offering “A Wrinkle in Time” this season, I knew we had to attend.

I loved seeing the story come to life on the stage! The actors made the three main characters real and believable  – “tough” Meg, misunderstood Charles Wallace, and likeable Calvin.  We are soon feeling connected to the characters and joining them on an adventure to find Meg and Charles Wallace’s father.

As a young reader, I was introduced to the idea of time travel and watching Childsplay make these concepts come alive was astounding. With the use of lights and sound, the audience truly felt that we were witnessing “tessering”. The effects were very convincing. We felt like we were traveling too! Once they “land” on the planet where their father is, the effects for walking down long hallways and traveling in elevators is very effective. The audience felt as if they were also a part of the search.

In this production, the characters are likeable and compelling. The three characters represent strong traits: stay firm and strong with what you believe, being “different” is okay, and sometimes the unknown is a little scary.  Childsplay always does a fabulous job with presenting valuable lessons through their stories and this one is no different.

The stage set and special effects are amazing . Just the visual and sound effects were reason enough to see the show! Kids and adults both will be impressed! I could hear members of the audience “ooh!”  when the characters first space traveled.

So whether you have, or have not yet, read the book, “A Wrinkle in Time” is a wonderful show (and story) for both kids and adults. Older children and pre-teens would probably enjoy it the most.

Going to see this show, in a beautiful COOL theater, would be a perfect way to  spend some time this long holiday weekend!

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a Fantastical Time!

Don’t judge me, but I have never read “A Wrinkle in Time”. So, I walked into the Childsplay production of “A Wrinkle in Time” completely unspoiled, with no idea what to expect. And I was blown away.

We walked into the theatre, and were immediately entranced by the elaborate set; what appeared to be a floating bed framed by a slanted window. Hmmmm…what did this mean? Would the bed be used to go through time? Does the wrinkle refer to crumpled bed sheets? Color me intrigued. The entire stage was framed by a chalkboard covered with mathematical equations.

The play starts, and I am transported. I immediately care about the characters in the story, as their personalities are fleshed out for us by various narrators who become characters in the story as well. I feel their worry, fear and anxiety. I am entranced by the odd neighbor, and when the children visit her haunted house in the woods, I get goose bumps.

I don’t want to give away the wonderful adventure this play takes us on; I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was assured by another patron who had read the book, that it was true to its source material, yet she too was on the edge of her seat.

The effects in this production were incredible. When the characters travel through time, I travelled with them; I felt breathless, lost and off balance. The creatures we met are creepy and chilling; at one point I found myself so mesmerized that I thought I too would succumb to the mind control of IT. Long, endless hallways were truly long (how do they do that?). When the characters flew to the top of a mountain, I could feel the lack of oxygen, and the elevator ride left me slightly off kilter.

Of course, the effects would fall flat if the actors didn’t sell them so completely. When Meg was battling IT, I could almost see the irresistible force pulling her. Yet, this is a live action play, not a movie with CGI, so the force pulling her was the actor being amazing. Seriously, how did she do that?

The set in this production was detailed yet stark at the same time. Screens and silhouettes are used to create images and feelings. When the characters were at the top of the mountain, I truly was there with them, with the set amplifying a feeling of height and emptiness rather than showing us an elaborately detailed mountain. The sets moved seamlessly throughout, their motion never taking you out of the play, but being incorporated into the story itself.

Six actors play the many roles in the play, including the narration. The narration is seamless and is incorporated into the action of the play, so the momentum of the story is never interrupted by exposition.

This play would be appreciated by children approaching those troublesome and scary teenage years. A main focus of the play was being different, and how being different effects the perception of those around you. We also saw how everyone being exactly alike is bone-chillingly scary and freaky. I loved how being unique is celebrated; being different is what saves the day.

I loved this play. It made me think, and, maybe more importantly, it made my children think as well. The questions for the ride home (which we always do) sparked a lively discussion about conformity. When is it important to fit in and not be different? Is it important, or should you always be true to yourself? Is it easier to be true to yourself the older you get?

Go see this play. It is masterfully presented with relevant themes that will resonate long after you leave the theatre.

“A Wrinkle in Time” runs through May 26. Tickets are available here.

Childsplay has announced its 2013 – 2014 season. I can’t wait!

Adorable Click Clack Moo!

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of seeing
Childsplay “Click Clack Moo”. I wasn’t sure I would attend at first; my kids noted that it was “recommended for 4 years and up” and thought it was “a little kids show”. They vaguely remembered the book that the play is based on and said they were too big for that story (typically, that is my kids’ favorite plays, the plays adapted from books). But I was very fortunate to have my young friend, Reese (4 years old) and her mom agree to go with me.
The stage, props, and backdrops were adorable. Very bright and colorful. The show is in the smaller Studio theater; perfect because it is smaller, cozy.
We enjoyed the story – the cows are cold and they want Farmer Brown to get them electric blankets. After several attempts to communicate with him, the cows find an old typewriter and type messages to Farmer Brown. In the story, there is also Hen (who is cold too) and Duck (who has his own dreams and wishes – for more excitement at the pond!) The toe-tapping songs had you wanting to clap and sing along. (I have to note that all of the actors are fabulous singers but I was particularly delighted to hear Yolanda London (as Cow 1) again; LOVED her in “Rock the Presidents”!)
The costumes were terrific; the Cows with their little aprons and Hen with her feathery full skirt. My friend did observe though she thought Duck should have had a duck tail.
I was surprised (although I should not have been; after all, this is Childsplay) that the story was deeper than I thought it would be. One of the songs was about a “revolution” and I could not help thinking perhaps that was subject matter for a little older than 4. But that is what I love about Childsplay productions. They challenge the whole audience – young and old – to explore new ideas. The show really had something for all ages. Even a few jokes that only the grown-ups understood and had them chuckling out loud.
So the three of us highly recommend seeing the show. My little friend, Reese said, “Yes!” she liked the show and Duck was her favorite. My friend and I laughed at the old typewriter and even the electric blankets (in Arizona!). Would kids even know what they were?! The topics of communication, conflict resolution, and working together were pertinent to all ages.
And my kids were disappointed they did not go – when I told them it wasn’t really just “a little kids show”.

New season for Childsplay!!

Greetings Childsplay fans!
I am looking forward to a new season of Childsplay – and I get to share my experiences on Childsplay Mom2Mom!
Like fellow mom, Marin, my family reviews the upcoming shows when the flyer arrives in the mail. My son especially likes the books and stories that come to life on the stage. We buy our Play Passes then pick the productions we want to see. We are particularly looking forward to A Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books as a kid – and recently reread with my book club! Still loved it 🙂
This weekend kicks off Rock the Presidents. Ok, I can’t rave enough about it! We saw it last year – LOVED IT! The actors are fun, talented,engaging. The music has you tapping your feet right along – just wait, you will still be humming the tunes after you leave the show. You will probably want to buy the CD of the music – we did and we listen (and sing along!) to it in the car 🙂 The interactive “pick the answer” has the audience playing right along and learning some things along the way! My mother in law was at the show with us and she also loved the show. It definitely appeals to all ages – kids and grown ups and grandparents, too!
So if you are even considering Rock the Presidents – go!! It will probably be the most fun we will have politically this year 🙂

Carol 🙂

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