Lately I've been having a rough time getting my little guy to see any plays or movies. He must have had some sort of bad dream or maybe his inner critic is getting a bit too big for it's size 4T britches. Last week we were invited to the opening night performance of Velveteen Rabbit at DR2 Kids theatre, the first production of the theatre's "Rabbit Season". Dr2Kids is doing two, ten-week, limited engagements of Velveteen Rabbit and Bunnicula at and I was excited to bring my little guy down to 15th street for the fun. But an hour before we were supposed to leave for the show, he was passed out cold, enjoying his first nap in probably six months (nice timing) and when I woke him up he had a total meltdown and refused to see this or ANY show, ever again.
After a few attempts to get my son to a movie, I could see us heading into a real situation. Seeing theatre and films together is a huge part of my relationship with my kids, and not something I'm willing to let go of lightly. So when the folks at Dr2 were kind enough to reschedule our tickets to Velveteen Rabbit, I decided to approach this the same way I've handled separation issues in the past: Quick, immediate, and not up for discussion.
I knew the best way to get past this "I don't want to see it!" phase was to get my son out to see a great show FAST and I was counting on Velveteen Rabbit to come through. Luckily, it did, and in a big way. I wooshed my son down to the theatre "just to see if we want to stay" (wink, wink) and worked hard at distracted him with conversation and pictures in the program. As we waiting for the show to start (remember, we were just "checking it out" and deciding if we were going to stay), we discussed the set. What did he think the show was going to be about? What did he see on stage? Where did he think the people in the show were supposed to be?
By the time the show was about to start, my little guy was passed his reservation phase and ready to be entertained, and fortunately for me, the show went over very well with my son and the other kids ages 3 and up in the audience.
Using some simple props, three versatile actors recreate the classic story of the Velveteen Rabbit. In the style of Peter and the Starcatcher, a few somewhat neutral objects are very believably turned into functional costume pieces and help tell the story in a way that is imaginative and delightful. The show was funny without being over the top and adapted slightly for modern audiences (the wind-up toys boast double-A batteries) without losing the flavor of the well-known book by Margery Williams.
The simple theatricality and exceptional storytelling made the show entertaining for kids in a way that you can't find in a movie or tv show, and this is the reason I love to take my kids to see live theatre. When a ball of yarn and an apron combined with an Irish accent and total commitment turn a young male actor into a 50-year-old European nanny, young audience members become theatre fans for life.
While this isn't necessarily a Christmas show, it does have a holiday feel (the Velveteen Rabbit, as you may recall, is a gift the boy finds in his Christmas stocking). It's a perfect show to share with your preschooler this time of year.
I was also excited to take my little guy to a show at night. Well, it was a 5 PM performance, but still, at this time of year 5 PM means it's dark out. We almost always see children's theatre in the afternoon, and there's something about the magic of the theatre at night, especially when you're seeing the Velveteen Rabbit on a cold, December Friday. It was enough to rekindle my son's excitement about theatre, and I am breathing a BroadwayWorld Jr. sigh of appreciative relief.
GET TO THE POINT, MOM!
- A great, seasonal show to share with your child ages 3 through 6,
- Now playing at the Dr2Kids Theatre on East 15th Street through January 27th, 2013.
- For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the show's website.
- What would I have done with a kid who refused to go to shows with me???