Thursday, August 07, 2008
Oregon Shadow Theatre presents "Thumbelina"
"Flower Child Number Nine"
On Tuesday, I took Lucia and my mother to see Oregon Shadow Theatre perform their sixties musical shadow puppet production of Thumbelina at one of our library branches. Mick Doherty was the musician and DJ named "Hans" who provided narration and voices while Deb Chase worked the puppets and also provided voices for Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a tiny "flower child" and her travels through the world. Bugs sang "Food Chain" to the tune of "Chain Gang," Buford the frog sang, "I ain't nothin' but a bull-frog..." and during an insect beauty pageant, a caterpillar sang, "These boots, boots, boots, boots, boots, boots, boots are made for walkin'." The dialogue abounded with coy references to sixties songs, too. The mole in the story is named Darkness just so that the mouse (named Strawberry Fields) can say, "Hello, Darkness, my old friend." I'll admit it: the humor was right up my alley.
Thumbelina with the Sun King
Lucia thoroughly enjoyed the show, and was riveted from beginning to end. When she said she wanted to sit up in front with the other children, I was a little concerned that she would try to interrupt the program with her incessant questions, but those worries were unfounded. I had waited for years to take her to an Oregon Shadow Theatre program, as the program is geared for children ages four and up. Since the Oregon Shadow Theatre usually performs in a darkened room (which wasn't an option here), the age guidelines are particularly important. However, there were plenty of children under four, plus quite a few babies. The babies cried, the toddlers fussed, and I mentally gave gold stars to Doherty and Chase for plowing through all the distractions to give a stellar performance.
If you have a chance to see Oregon Shadow Theare in the future, do so! I got to see Pecos Bill as a children's librarian before I had a baby, and always intended to take my husband to subsequent productions. Now that Lucia has reached the age where a wider variety of performances are appropriate for her, we're going to be attending many more shows.