Editor's note: First, a necessary aside: A Wrinkle in Time was only performed by Seattle Public Theater's youth troupe this past weekend. So you actually can't see it (sorry!). However, these talented teens and tweens stage a number of productions a year; the next is another classic, Our Town, which opens Friday, Nov. 1 at the Bathhouse Theater for a two-weekend run, performed by 9th-12th graders. Now on to the review
Watching tweens and teens reenact A Wrinkle in Time, one of my favorite childhood books, was priceless. I finally saw the visual explanation for a tesseract [not the geometry definition, but the book’s meaning]. The shortest distance is not a straight line, but a wrinkle in time, explained an actor as she wrinkled the fabric in another character’s skirt. Three unusual kids use L’Engle's tesseract idea to travel through space to rescue two characters' scientist dad. Better yet, the main character Meg has to use her most flawed characteristics, including anger, to save her brother.
And the actors and the audience learn how to face our Shadows and the Dark Thing by being fully ourselves in our own unique skins.
My 11-year-old loves this book and she enjoyed seeing it brought to life. My eight-year-old had no knowledge of the story, but loved its sci-fi nature and the fact that only kid-aged actors filled the stage. She wants to join the Seattle Public Theater's Youth Theater Program now! This is good news, since the winter season of the Youth Theater Program and Tech Class Program sign-ups open soon.
The Q&A following the show with the actors and youth tech members made me fall in love with this program. One boy said we fight the sad Shadows in our life by doing happy things so the sad Shadows become only a gentle shining. Every actor had a different answer for what The Dark Thing or It represented, from the popular crowd to a lack of creativity. And one boy Beast told us he based his strange voice on a cartoon character and added a Russian accent.
“I want to be in one of those shows,” said my eight-year-old daughter as we exited the theater.
- This is actually the perfect venue to take young kids to theater. It’s free! The space is small, meaning every seat is excellent. And it’s all performed by kids. Children love watching other kids perform, and it makes theater accessible in a very real way, teaching children that they too can take to the stage ASAP. And I’m guessing that the actors don’t mind loud children who make noise and move around a lot.
- Although all of the shows are free, Seattle Public Theater’s Youth Education Program relies on donations. Bring some cash to donate if you can, and buy snacks and water for $1 each in the lobby.
- Seating is not reserved, but arriving 15 minutes before any of their shows is early enough to enjoy a snack and find a seat.
- The Q&A with the young actors after the show is as good as the show. Hear these awesome kids give their theories on the show and explain what it’s like to perform or do tech with Seattle Public Theater.
Seattle Public Theater's youth theater program
Does your teen need a little structure, some socialization, and a sense of empowerment and responsibility? Sign your teen up for the theater tech training program.
Registration for young actors for all six winter shows opens on November 4 at 11 a.m. Each show has a different range of grades or ages for enrollment, such as grades 2 to 5 for Criminal Elements and grades 6 to 10 for Alice in Wonderland. The website states that “Registration is open to all, regardless of experience or income.” Artistic Director and Education Director Shana Bestock said, “You can enroll and apply [for financial assistance] at the same time. Our policy is that if you want to do the class, we make it possible.”
If you go ...
Where and when: Although A Wrinkle in Time closed October 27, mark your calendar with upcoming free Youth Program Shows at the Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse, including Our Town, which opens Nov. 1 for a two-weekend run.
Tickets: Free, with donations gratefully accepted. No need to reserve ahead.
Writer, editor, and writing coach Nancy Schatz Alton is finishing the last draft of a memoir. She is co-author of two holistic health care guides: The Healthy Back Book and The Healthy Knees Book. When not navigating parenthood, she uses her brain power to write, edit, and fact-check articles for websites and magazines. She lives in Ballard with her husband and two elementary-age daughters. Find her blog at Within the Words.