Live theatre in the outdoors are a favourite activity for people to attend during the summer. It is especially great for kids because they are not in an enclosed space and they are getting some fresh air while being entertained. The Odyssey Theatre’s Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre holds matinée performances each year to give children this experience and to have them learn to use their imagination. This year’s performance was entitled Lighter Than Air, and for my kids, it enabled their imaginations to take flight! These performances took place on August 5th and 12th, 2015 at Strathcona Park.
Lighter Than Air is a play based on a fairy tale by George MacDonald called The Light Princess, Lighter Than Air. It is about a princess who had a curse put on her by her aunt who was upset that she was not invited to her christening. From that moment on, the princess does not have gravity; becoming lighter than air. This trait is not only a physical one, but it becomes a part of her personality as well, making her act selfish towards her parents and to those in the kingdom. The princess learns that the only thing that will keep her from her flighty and selfish ways is to swim. A traveling prince looking for his perfect bride meets the princess and eventually becomes the source of a dilemma for her. The princess to question what is more important: This man’s life or herself?
Selflessness is a great theme for kids to learn how to incorporate into their daily lives, and is front and centre for Lighter Than Air. I took my younger daughter and my son to the Rag & Bone Theatre’s first matinée performances that day as a birthday surprise for my daughter! She was thrilled to go, and was happy that we were going to watch the magic of the theatre unfold in a park.
As the story played out before them with the puppets and props on the stage, I liked that the performers interacted with the audience from time to time to keep them interested throughout the performance. My kids were not shy and joined in on providing suggestions to the questions the actors were asking or helping them find things as part of the play. My kids also loved when the actors performed with the puppets. They were not behind a board, but were holding the puppets and even used props to act out certain parts of the story. I thought it was brilliant that the actors even had a Q & A session after the performance was over, so kids could get answers for parts of the story they may not have understood.
To add even more fun to the day, some of the actors from the Odyssey Theatre, along with volunteers of the Theatre, put together games and craft sessions for the children to enjoy! Half of the audience went to play games while the other half made their own personalized masks. After everyone had made a mask for themselves, they put them on and had a masquerade parade, showing each other how they had decorated their masks. My kids, though on the younger side of the group, loved being a part of the games. They then let their creativity go wild and had fun styling their masks.
My kids has an amazing time on their trip to see the Rag & Bone Theatre for their performance of Lighter Than Air. My daughter got to feel more like a princess on her special day with the play and then her new princess mask. It is an experience they will learn from while letting their imaginations soar.
Disclaimer: I received tickets to attend a performance of the Rag & Bone Theatre in order to write this review. The views expressed are my own.
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