Imagination Stage’s The Night Fairy: A Review

Saturday evening we were lucky enough to enjoy Imagination Stage’s new production The Night Fairy, which kicks off the theatre’s 2014-2014 season.  Unfortunately we haven’t yet read the book The Night Fairy written by Baltimore-based author Laura Amy Schlitz but my eldest since added it to the top of her list.

Flory, the Night Fairy, played by Tia Shearer. Photo credit: Imagination Stage

Flory, the Night Fairy, played by Tia Shearer. Photo credit: Imagination Stage

My youngest has been a hardcore fairy lover for several years now. She tends to get most of her fairy inspiration from Tinkerbelle but she’ll take any fairy she can get – definitely not picky over here. My oldest is neutral on fairies but she’s a hardcore animal lover. I knew going into the play that it would be a true hit with our crowd.

Flory is the star of the play, a night time fairy who tries to live in the day time world. But it’s her supporting cast of animal garden friends, led by Skuggle, the squirrel, who help deliver a must-see performance for kids ages 4-10.

Flory gets her wings snipped by a bat one night and finds herself without any friends living in a garden. Skuggle, who before running into Flory, was perfectly content living nameless while constantly scrounging for food, quickly surmises that Flory is a night-time fairy and shouldn’t be out during the day. The creative explanation for what makes for a night or day fairy is perfect for the kids and made absolute sense to mine.

Skuggle the ever-hungry Squirrel played by Erin Weaver. Photo credit: Imagination Stage.

Skuggle the ever-hungry Squirrel played by Erin Weaver. Photo credit: Imagination Stage.

Flory goes about trying to fit in during the day time while learning valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty and how to be brave. Beyond Skuggle, the totally hilarious squirrel played by Erin Weaver, we meet a hummingbird, a racoon, a wren, a spider and a bat throughout the hour long play. The audience is whisked away into the possibilities of garden adventure through the tall grass, willowy trees and blossoming flowers in your own back yard.

The play relies not only on valuable lessons in friendship but some classic physical comedy and outstanding animal costumes and set design to deliver a home run performance. I’m always especially happy when they don’t break for intermission, which this play does not. It really is an outstanding, fun, creative and heartfelt performance perfectly suited for kids ages 4-10.

My girls absolutely loved it and I’d totally go again. Frankly, I found myself hoping there would be a school field trip before the play closes on October 26.

Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased here. Catch The Night Fairy Saturdays and Sundays between now and the end of October.  Beware Disney and dog lovers – next up at Imagination Stage: 101 Dalmatians from November 19 – January 11, 2015.

Disclosure: Imagination Stage invited me and my family to attend opening night. My opinions here are all my own.

Get your Frozen on….also…a Disney on Ice Give-Away

Happy Monday everyone. I thought it would be fun to kick-off the week with a give-away.

In case you haven’t heard, Disney on Ice Frozen is coming to the Patriot Center next month. Word on the street is tickets are going fast….so today is your lucky day. As my loyal readers know, each October I trek to the Patriot Center in Fairfax and each year I vow it will be the last time I do so, despite our love for all things Disney and Disney on Ice.  Usually it’s the rush hour traffic, one year it was the Obama presidential campaign stop on the campus of George Mason at the same time and date of our show – seriously – what are the odds?

Last year again, I vowed, never again.

Until the email landed in my inbox indicating that this year’s show is FROZEN.

Umm….Olaf?  Sven? What?

DisneyonIce_Frozen_LogoWho can say no to our beloved Frozen friends? I can’t. I thought about it but I can’t.  In the event you’re wondering if the show is exclusively just Frozen, as my eldest wondered, the answer is no, no it is not. The Feld Entertainment Disney on Ice press release indicated that Disney princesses and characters from Finding Nemo, Toy Story and The Lion King are also part of the show.

Here are the details:

The show will be at the Patriot Center from October 22-27th. Ticket prices range from $20 – $85 and can be purchased here. I’d recommend doing that soon.

How about that give-away? Frozen_Ticketmasterimage

I have 4 tickets for the Monday October 27 show at 7pm. You can enter to win simply by posting a comment to my post about this on the Wired Momma Facebook page. You have until next Monday, September 29, to comment on the FB post. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday September 30, also on Facebook.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: Feld Entertainment invited me and my family to be guests of the show but my opinions here are all my own.

The Sound of Silence

In August 1992, my parents dropped me off in Iowa City. It was my freshman year in college and once they were done getting me settled into my crowded, not fancy or decorated like the kids today, dorm room, it was time for them to leave. My mom, not usually a very emotional person, started crying.

I vividly remember thinking “Why is she crying, I’ll see them at Christmas.”

Yep.

This is how emotional of a person I am. Frankly, until I had kids, I made sport out of making my younger sister cry because I was that kind of big sister.  You know, the crying is for losers, kind of older sister.

#DoYouWantToBeFriends?

I think I remember thinking “why is she crying” so clearly because in my own totally self-centered teen way – I still could recognize that this was totally normal – for a parent to be upset about leaving their child – and so it stuck with me.

Are we laughing and snickering at me just yet?

So fast forward 22 years to this past Monday, on a street corner in Maryland, when my little baby, my youngest, boarded the bus for Kindergarten.

I didn’t just tear up, I was a snorting, sobbing, wretched mess. It was an ugly ugly cry.

Eventually I collected myself. Tuesday was better, yesterday was even better. But there is still a heaviness hanging around me as the clock nears 1pm and I’m used to picking her up from preschool.

I realize I have THREE MORE HOURS.

What?

THREE HOURS?!?!? MORE?!?!?

For the last several years, I’ve built my own social media business from my kitchen table. I’ve crammed, jammed and raced through work in between preschool pickup and drop off. I’ve cut through and tried to ignore the guilt that weighed down on me each afternoon when I had my precious afternoon time with my youngest, yet I still had work to do, and often relied on TV shows, snacks, movies and bribes to get through that time because for the working world, it was still business hours.

I felt the weight of “Should I put this computer down, she’s going to Kindergarten” pushing me down. Meanwhile on my other shoulder, my dad’s sage advice of “Don’t buy a ticket on that (guilt) bus” echoing through my ears.

I knew I was lucky that my business was growing to the point of no longer being part-time but I couldn’t very well say “Hey, could you put this project on hold until September 2014 when my baby starts Kindergarten?” At the same time, I also knew I couldn’t walk away from the projects because I deserved to have work that fulfilled me, I deserved to have work to challenge me when they go off to school, you know, I matter too. Even though my things were conflicting with my kids’ time.

Getting ready to board the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. My tears were flowing.

Getting ready to board the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. My tears were flowing.

And now here we are. She’s in a full day of school and I have almost a full day to get work done.

Even so, the passage of time and the cliche of how the days are long but the years are short, overwhelms me this week.

Turns out, these confusing, conflicting feelings that come with parenting, keep coming back. I am both deeply sad and almost lonely that she’s gone all day, my sweet little buddy, and at the same time, I relish the sound of silence through the house and the hours of uninterrupted time.

I think it’s safe to assume I will definitely be crying the big, ugly cry when it’s time to take her to college.

 

Summer Kids Theatre: The Big Friendly Giant Review

“Mommy, I am going to read The BFG next,” casually remarked my 8-year-old at the conclusion of Imagination Stage’s current stage production of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Could there be a better, more concise, or positive review of a play than those words? Especially coming from my not-overly-inclined-to-read-on-a-whim kid. It was music to my ears. One week later, she has officially cracked the book, further proving just how much she enjoyed the play.

The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves) celebrate friendship and bravery in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves) celebrate friendship and bravery in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

We recently took a much-needed break from the sun and pool to head indoors for Imagination Stage’s new production, Roald Dahl’s The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Full disclosure: We are avid Matilda fans here, including a whirlwind 24-hour trip to NYC over spring break to see it on Broadway, but we weren’t overly familiar with the BFG plot.

In fact, I don’t even think I read The BFG as a kid.

I know, I know. A disgrace.

#Don’tTellMyDaughter

For anyone else who might not know, the BFG  includes all the essential elements for kid theater-going success: farting jokes, enormous giants, a good-fighting-evil arc, a brave little girl and some explanation of where our dreams come from. In our house, my youngest shares a name with the show’s main character, Sophie, so we had that added perk. Also chez moi,  zapping bad dreams from heads before bed-time is a nightly ritual, so any chance to learn how these dreams get in our heads is a win-win for my girls.

The play opens with little Sophie’s cold and unloving orphan existence. While she’s looking out the window one sleepless night, she happens to spot a huge giant. According to Dahl, the master of exploring kid fears and imaginations, mean giants roam the globe when humans are sleeping, and do horrible things like eat children.

#NomNom

Honestly, some might consider the Dahl stories too dark and morbid but I love them. Just as the children

The mean giants of Giant Country plot their next move during The Witching Hour in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The mean giants of Giant Country plot their next move during The Witching Hour in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

are revolting in Matilda but they rise above their adult oppressors and prevail, the same proves true in The BFG. In this case, Sophie happens to spot the one giant who doesn’t eat children, so while he snatches her from her own bedroom (hello possible nightmares and kidnapping fears), he is nice and caring and hides her from the mean children-eating giants in his giant-land.

At this point, you might be wondering the right age group for the play? My 5-year-old came along and she never once was scared or upset by the plot. The only challenge we faced with her was the length of the play, especially because it includes a short intermission. Anyone who follows my theater reviews knows I loathe intermission for kid plays.  I confess, I was disappointed they brought back the intermission for this play because Imagination Stage had eliminated it from the past few consecutive plays. Bottom line, Mr. WM and me both agreed that early Elementary through 6th grade is the ideal target for this one, my rising Kindergartener was questionable but it wasn’t inappropriate or outrageous to bring her along. She just understand it or appreciate it like her older sister did and it got to be a little long for her.

The Queen of England (Susan Lynskey) honors the BFG (James Konicek) for his courage in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The Queen of England (Susan Lynskey) honors the BFG (James Konicek) for his courage in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

In the end, Sophie and the BFG plan to save the world’s children from the mean giants by concocting a clever plan to get inside the Queen of England’s head. Along the way, Dahl successfully mixes farting jokes with the ever-proper Queen while good wins over evil.

If the kids in your house are Dahl-lovers, I’d highly recommend this summer play. It’s a great chance to escape the heat and explore your little one’s imagination. From my perspective, there is no greater marker of a wonderful theater experience than a child actively seeking out the book after the show.

Catch The BFG now through August 10th. Tickets are on sale for $10 and can be purchased online.

Disclosure: Me and my family were guests of Imagination Stage but my opinions here are all my own.