A special puppet show presented for 2- to 6-year olds
By Mary Ann Bourbeau
RED BANK – Spring is when everything in nature starts to come to life again. The trees sprout their buds, the flowers bloom and baby animals are born.
This year, a newborn chick is due to come into the world on April 27, when a toddler-friendly production called “Hatched: Life on the Farm,” will be presented at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. “Hatched” is the story of that chick emerging from her shell to discover a strange and busy world. The show features handcrafted puppets and very little human dialogue. The puppeteers are so adept at bringing the dancing chicks, feisty rooster, wobbly calf and baby birds to life, they can almost seem real.
“The music is catchy and the show is kind of magical,” said Kate Cordaro, director of education for the Two River Theater. “It also allows kids to get up and become part of the experience. They acknowledge that kids that age can’t stay in their seats, so the kids can actually get up and touch the cow and play with the chicks. They get to experience a fun new world, just like the chick does.”
What the children are experiencing, for most of them, is their first live theater performance.
While the Two River Theater has presented shows for young audiences before, this is the first one aimed at those ages 2 to 6. Through movement and music, they watch as the calf learns to walk, the baby birds attempt to fly and the lamb makes a new friend with the curious hatched chick.
Audience members interact and play with the characters on stage. They can give the chicks their feed, give milk bottles to the lamb, get licked by the cow and feed worms to the baby birds.
“We are excited to be a child’s first experience in theater,” Cordaro said. “It’s always great to show kids something new. It really opens up their world.”
The 45-minute movement-theater piece is performed by three dancer/puppeteers and two musicians. The show is written and directed by Mara McEwin and presented by the Treehouse Shakers, a dance-theater company based in New York.
There also will be crafts in the lobby to engage the children after the show.
“Finally, the under 6 crowd will be served,” Cordaro said.
***TALThere will be three shows on Sunday, April 27 at 10 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $15 for children ages 2 to 6 and $20 for adults and children older than 6. For more information, call 732-345-1400 or visit www.tworivertheater.org.***END