“My mother always said, ‘Don’t be a bother when you can be a help.'” And that’s how Mouse lived his life.
He delivered his mantra with a bang!
As Twin Cities event bloggers, we were invited to experience If You Give A Mouse A Cookie based on the book by Laura Numeroff. Anne and I were able to make it work with our schedules. Anne will let you know all about everything we learned about Children’s Theatre Company and the facts behind the show. I just wanted to let you know that I am in love with CTC.
Anne here. Many thanks go out to Gianna for including me in the blogger’s event. It was such a treat to be able to sit down with director Peter Brosius and hear a behind-the-scenes account of how CTC develops their plays. I also learned quite a few facts about the Company itself – that it’s the leading theater in North America for young people, for instance, and that it’s one of only a few youth companies in the U.S. to employ their own staff of actors. The 2015-16 season will ring in 50 years of bringing both classic stories and original works to life.
But back to the creative process. This part of the talk was probably even interesting to some of the older children present. Mr. Brosius took us through the production timeline, starting with storyboards, moving on to playing around with the actors, and finishing with the addition of lighting, sound and costumes.
A question was fielded from an intrigued blogger: How much freedom do the actors have to improvise during scenes?
This was a particularly good question to ask after a couple goofy run-throughs of scenes from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The answer is, quite a lot of freedom! Some of the funny stunts and antics of the characters can’t be completely controlled. The director stressed that “making a scene” is really a collaboration of imaginations. “Everyone in the room has a voice,” he explained. “You never know who might come up with a great idea.”
(Gianna again) Now moving onto the play itself. Mouse is played by Dean Holt and Boy is played by Reed Sigmund. These men happen to be dads who are best friends. So they trust each other explicitly and know how to play to an audience full of kids! Basically, they are big kids themselves.
This show is great for preschool children and up!
Jack, who is three, was very afraid of the pictures of Mouse. I think he was convinced it was a monster. On the day we met the actors and director, he and I drove to the theatre together, and I had Mr. Cling with me for the morning. But by the time he had seen Mouse be all cute, adorable, and naughty (much like himself), he wanted to sit only on Mouse’s lap.
The next day, I took my girls, Tori and Kyla, to see the show. Being 8 and 6, they were not concerned at all about the mouse being scary. They just wanted the show to start.
And me? I honestly was not super excited about this show. Physical comedy doesn’t usually make me laugh. Usually I cringe and get all anxious because I can’t handle the mess. (do you remember Steve Urkel on Family Matters. I didn’t think he was funny. All I could think of when he created disasters was where do you start trying to clean that up? Even just telling you about it now is putting knots in my stomach) I thought this would pretty much the same.
However, Mouse is so cute, and Boy is so like I was that I couldn’t help but be drawn into the story. I caught myself laughing hysterically more than once.
Here’s the gist of the story. Mouse is hungry. He wants a cookie. Boy doesn’t want to give him the cookie, but finally he does because he feels so bad for him. There was no way for him to anticipate what was going to happen. Mouse was just trying to be a help.
With a stunt refrigerator, creepy dust bunnies, skate mops, goofy mirror, tape mishaps, silly marshmallows, our favorite part of the show was Mouse’s mixed up words. For the rest of the day, we giggled whenever we used Mousewords. It was special connecting with my daughters like that.
When you go to the show, watch for Reed’s favorite scene–the dust bunnies–and Dean’s favorite scenes–the Cottonball scene and the tape scene.
Tickets run from $10-$53.50.
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is playing at Children’s Theatre Company until July 21.
Saturday, June 29 11:00 am & 2:00 pm
You don’t want to miss it!