Thursday, October 22, 2009

Every Mouse is different! or, What Mom said.

This counts as the inside scoop, because the only way anyone in the audience would ever know this to be the case is if they watched this show over and over and very closely.

You see, every time we perform If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, it's a little different.

Take a look at the scene below, in which MJ Sieber, playing Boy, is imitating his mother right after she's done her nails. It's one of the funnier moments of the play, and it is never the same twice, because MJ has been given the green light to ad lib the line.

Photo by Chris Bennion.

So, every day, when we get the show reports, there's a little box that says "What Mom said today..."

Some of our favorites so far:

Wha, Wha, Wha…(Charlie brown’steacher)

I can’t go outside until my nails are dry because I might get bugs on them.

I’m making smoothies for everyone.

Don’t forget to eat your brussel sprouts.

Did I ever tell you about my four episode arc on Falcon Crest?

It’s french toast day. Everyone want french toast?

Now be quiet. It’s time for me to watch my stories.

I wrote your name in all your underwear in case you lose it.

But, this has got to be our top, top favorite:

Did anyone see Antiques Road Show last night?? I’ve got a neti pot…

Come and see the show, and then stop back here tell us what Mom said!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

SCT Review Crew: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
by SCT Review Crew members Meg D. (mom), Seth D. (age 10), and Dale D. (age 8)

Seattle Children's Theatre has done it again with the amazing adaptation by Jody Davidson of the beloved story If You Give A Mouse A Cookie! My two sons and I have never laughed so hard and were talking about it for hours afterwards.

Take two amazingly gifted performers; MJ Sieber as the boy, who's animated narration of the story and comedic timing are perfect. MJ is so believable as the boy you forget that he is an adult and you truly believe the predicament he is in. And Don Darryl Rivera, as the mouse, who by far is the funniest, set-climbing, mess-making mouse ever to grace the stage. My younger son loves his work, and thought this was by far his best role yet at SCT.

MJ Sieber and Don Darryl Rivera. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Director Rita Giomi staged this non-stop adventure, with classic bits of comedy and great moments where you laughed so hard you didn't think it could be any funnier. But it does, and by the end of the show you have lived the story that I know many parents have read to their kids at least a hundred times.

Take a great set designed by Jennifer Zeyl that is larger than life and filled with all sorts of fun objects for the mouse to get tangled up in. The larger than life bag of chips, cotton balls, cookies and hose from the kitchen sink are fantastic additions. Sound Cues provided by Chris R. Walker added just the perfect touch to certain scenes in the play. My older son loved the 'yodeling' sound bit when the mouse takes upon himself to climb up the refrigerator to hang his picture. Heidi Ganser's fun costumes fit the characters to a T.

This play is just what my family needed to see. A chance to escape our busy lives and to spend an evening laughing and enjoying the audience members experience around us. I hope that every parent, teacher or Seattle Children's Theatre Patron will go see this little show that is as delicious as a cookie and glass of milk will ever be!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bring us your bored, your squirmy, your young masses yearning to be engaged...

From this weekend's Rant & Rave in the Seattle Times:

Rant - For the mother who brought her three children under the ages of 7 to "Wicked." As two mothers who sat in front of you who rarely get out to enjoy a show, we, and especially your children, were tortured by your selfishness. The kids kicked the backs of our chairs; the youngest, only 3 or 4, complained during the whole show; and the other children kept asking, "Where's Dorothy?" "Where are the little people?" and "When is this going to end?" To all parents: Some shows are NOT meant for children, and if you take them anyway, please choose a matinee. Better yet, take them to the Children's Theatre.

We couldn't agree more - bring them to us, and we'll keep not only your children, but also you, entertained and engaged.

And should your child (or possible you) get too fussy, we have a quiet room in the back of each theatre with a great view of the stage and sound piped in.

Really, what could be more perfect?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

SCT Review Crew: Mysterious Gifts

Another great review of "Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran", this time from the newest members of the SCT Review Crew, Anita S. and Akaash S.

The show begins with the entrance of the Director, Performer- the audience does not realize yet that they are in for an unique experience. He starts off quite casually into numerous song and dance from all regions of Iran. One can tell that the audience is captivated by the short “mini-dances” which are performed. But wait, the entire tone of the performance shifts in one fell swoop.

Photo by Chris Bennion

He is now in a dark room of some sort and appears to be tortured by something or someone- and hence begins a wonderful display of physicality and puppetry. Is this a battle with one self? Is this a bad dream? Is this a philosophical struggle between good and evil? What is the meaning of this particular “story”? This is the wonder of what we, the audience, are experiencing: a story being told by movement, expression, and pure physical presence. Not to mention the mysterious music in the background. The point being; not one word has been spoken.

Photo by Chris Bennion

After intermission, the stage comes alive in a potter’s environment. Or is it the laboratory of a mad scientist? This story is simply mesmerizing, mysterious, spiritual and curious. One is left wanting more- no wait, it cannot be over…

If you'd like to become part of the SCT Review Crew and share your reviews of SCT productions, contact Marketing & PR Manager Jim Jewell at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Reviewer: Mysterious Gifts: Theatre of Iran

From time to time, we invite members of our community to see a show and tell us, and you, what they think. Our first guest reviewer is Sarah Pedro, who was sent to us by a local Artistic Director. Sarah saw a performance this weekend, and here is what she had to say.

Finding words to describe the marvel of Mysterious Gifts seems impossible and obsolete in the same way Yaser Khaseb has proven the same of describing the true beauty of life and the connections between all humanity. Khaseb strips away the identities of language that separate us from each other, and brings our similarities into full, undeniable view. Using movement, color, music and expression, Yaser and his cast portray the constant toil and philosophical questions every human battles with, regardless of culture or beliefs.

Hamid Etemedi Todeshki and Yaser Khaseb. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Painting a timeline of the human mind's spiritual struggle, we are first born a compacted being, that must use its entire mind, spirit, and energy to simply survive, and learn to be. The task to unfold, to stand, to walk, to see, soon transform to the quest to understand, to create, to transcend. The character in the battle with the self transcends the barriers between the physical and philosophical, and transforms them into one. We see our mental and spiritual conflicts physically manifest on stage through body language and movement, and this embodies the philosophical struggle better than words ever have. The constant battle between fear and failure, and determination and success that every human experiences over and over again in the wonderment of how and why to live.

Yaser Khaseb in "Mysterious Gift." Photo by Chris Bennion.

Immediately after the stage went black, I had an overwhelming need to see it all over again. I had never before felt so understood, and understanding at the same time.

The most amazing part of this understanding was that I did not know this person, I did not grow up as he had, and I did not even speak his language, yet we understood each other. It is truly an experience that has changed me for the better, and forever.

Wow - thank you, Sarah. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts about SCT productions, you can join the SCT Review Crew. Just drop a line to Marketing & PR Manager Jim Jewell for more information.