Each year, Children’s Theatre Company puts on at least one production that is geared toward middle grade to teen audiences. This year that play is Last Firefly – an exciting and sometimes unsettling hero adventure.
The Last Firefly is intended for audiences eight and over. This is a good guideline, however, you can read my review and take into account your own child’s temperament.
Who Would Enjoy The Last Firefly?
I attended with my 11-year-old. The story would fall generally under the fantasy genre category, which is more my taste than hers; but it contains enough universal appeal that she enjoyed herself. The plot follows a basic hero myth pattern. It would particularly appeal to children who like the Percy Jackson book series. I saw a lot of similarities — the search for the father, the saintly mother, the friendships that develop, and the young man who must find the hero within.
For children who enjoy hero fiction and want more, Children’s Theatre offers some ideas for taking this fun home. Ideas include suggestions for further reading. The study guide that CTC offers is aimed at high school teachers with a common core objective. I did see some ideas that could be incorporated into “fun” with younger kids, but mostly it looked like work. Instead, I liked the Hero’s Journey Outline shared by The Writer’s Journey. The Last Firefly did not incorporate every stage of the hero’s journey. It would be fun to identify the stages it skipped and to write your own hero journey using the stages. To make it really fun, I would encourage my kids to turn it into a puppet show.
Who Would Not Enjoy the Last Firefly?
I know my children and how much intensity or scariness they can handle. This has less to do with age than temperament. However, besides having an intense beginning, the show is more mature in other ways. It runs about an hour and 15 minutes with no intermission and very little physical humor to carry it. Even as an adult, I was physically uncomfortable by the end. I am sure that my younger children would have all been squirming and asking (loudly) if it was almost over.
The intense scene in the beginning is a domestic violence scene in which a pet bird is killed. The violence is stage violence and not at all graphic, gory or physical. However, Luverne Seifert so perfectly embodies the soul of an abusive man that it could be frightening, especially for a child who has witnessed abuse. Ultimately, though, this story is about surviving and thriving in the face of adversity.
After the first ten minutes, the narratives settles into a hero quest journey with obstacles and challenges that the hero meets along the way to his goal. Most of this would be acceptable for school age children unless they have sensory sensitivities. You’ll note there is not a sensory friendly version of this show offered. Too much of the story would be lost trying to remove loud noises and bright flashes from a story about thunder and lightening.
The Last Firefly runs until November 13th on the Cargill Stage at Children’s Theatre Company. Family Fun Twin Cities received two tickets to facilitate our review.