If your little one is a fan of Mo Willems' "Elephant and Piggie" series, then this new play at Seattle Children’s Theatre, running through Dec. 6, should be on your not-to-be-missed list. Seeing their favorite characters talk, dance, sing and even whine will keep your little ones spellbound. They might also learn some important life lessons about sharing, friendship and fun.
The script and lyrics of Seattle Children's Theatre's new production, Elephant and Piggie's 'We are in a play!', are by author Mo Willems, which means that families who have read the books will instantly recognize much of the dialogue.
The production is most similar to the Elephant and Piggie book We are in a Book!, but the script draws from other favorite books such as Should I Share My Ice Cream, Elephants Cannot Dance, I Love My New Toy, I Am Invited to a Party and more.
The play starts with “bestus” of friends Gerald (the elephant, played by Jon Lutyens) and Piggie (played by Cassie Kohl) anxiously looking for and missing each other even as they pass by one another. When they finally meet, Gerald the worrier is apprehensive that something horrible may happen in the next one hour and end their best friendship, while Piggie sees the immense possibilities of their time together. The differing points of view alone make for an interesting set-up. Then, a party invitation arrives from the Squirrelles and all kinds of questions, mishaps and adventures ensue.
Over the course of the play, Gerald and Piggie learn about sharing, how to get ready for a fancy-costume pool party and how not to get angry at a friend even when he breaks your new toy. As your kids will find out (and love), they also learn that they can make an active audience do whatever they want them to do, including saying “banana”!
The play ends with Piggie explaining to Gerald that all plays come to an end, but reassuring him that they will still be together. As the lights go out and come back again, and they emerge from their play about a play, they realize that they can have fun and go on new adventures, even without a script.
The production, as you might imagine, is delightful. My 6-year-old daughter loves plays, but this one was particularly special to her because "Elephant & Piggie" was the first series of books that she had completed reading all on her own. She was very excited that she even knew the script! She could preempt the dialogues before the actors actually said it and so she felt very connected to what was happening on stage. Note of caution: If your kid is anything like mine, then there’s going to be a demand for a re-watch.
Parents should know
• The play is an hour long with no breaks. If possible, use restrooms before the show.
• The play is recommended for ages 4 and above, but could possibly be viewed by younger audiences familiar with the series.
• Check out the active audience guide to the show, with great information, activities and teaching tips.
• The Eve Alvord Theatre has a quiet room, in case you need to use it for your child.
• There are booster seats available for young viewers.
• The actors return after the play for a quick round of Q&A from the audience and to sign books and programs. This is a great opportunity for young fans to talk to the actors who play their favorite characters.
If you go
Where and when: Eva Alvord Theatre, at Seattle Center, through Dec. 6.
Tickets: Adults: $22 to $40; child, $22 to $33. Buy online.
Parking: There’s plenty of paid street and public parking available, although you may find it difficult to find parking close to the theatre. If you can, take the bus.