Monday, August 30, 2021

Naked in the Park


I can’t believe I got on my good clothes and planned my whole day around going to see a rock musical about a naked mole rat. Well, maybe I can.

The location was, of course, the Chrysalis in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. The play was “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: the Rock Experience” which is a musical based on the Mo Willems picture book of the same name.

When I asked the concessions guy what kind of beer goes with naked mole rat he did not know. So I went with a Flying Dog Blood Orange Ale. Great choice.

The performers were from the Drama Learning Center. They were very, very good. The adaptation of the book into a musical format worked well. There were laugh lines that reached the children, and some for the adults. The show was fun, and funny, with a sweet yet powerful message and it was not too long for kids to enjoy it. 

As someone who works with young children I often find theater that is intended for children to be pretty dreadful. I wince at the many stereotypes that seem to slip in, songs that are too loud or belted in an unhealthy way, story lines that rely on old tropes instead of genuine and creative story-telling.

This play and its performers pulled off a first for me: I didn’t wince once. In fact, I even got a little teary as the deeper implications of the story’s simple message sunk in.

I already knew I loved author Mo Willems. Now I find that the folks at Drama Learning Center are growing on me, too. 

Today is the first day of school for many in our area. It’s always a good time for a reminder of how important it is for children to grow up reading with their parents and caregivers. Read aloud to your children, read with them. Have fun. Follow their interests and share some of your own. Talk with them about what you read. 

Maybe you’d enjoy starting with this.

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