Everybody loves a day at the beach, especially kids. In these DC days of a snowy Spring, Kennedy Center is providing an opportunity for seashore fun (no airfare needed) by hosting, in its Family Theater, Waves, all that Glows Sees.
This is another offering in that surprisingly vibrant scene in town that caters to the very youngest of theatre-goers. It’s suggested audience is 18 months to four years.
At five and a half, my kids have aged-out of that range, but I took a chance, and I’m so glad I did; they loved it.
Le Théâtre des Confettis is the Quebec-based company that created and tours the piece. Véronique Côté is credited with “conception and direction.” (There is no indication of a playwright, which implies to me a certain amount of company devising.)
We enter the (relatively) cavernous Family Theater and are instructed to fill only three rows down toward the front of the stage, which is concealed by a drop curtain.
We are further instructed to take off our shoes, which we will leave in the seats, along with our coats. One of the pair of actors comes out from behind the curtain, holding a foot-tall lighthouse, and summons us onto the stage. The curtain is now up, revealing the tent in which the play will take place. (Obviously, that tent holds many fewer people than the fixed-seat proscenium theatre we had just entered.)
In the tent, in the back, there is a row of folding chairs for parents who don’t want to sit on the floor (or don’t want to block the view of kids not in the front row on the floor). There’s a blue line in front of the shallow playing area, which the children are asked not to cross.
The two actors (one who does most of the talking — Guy Daniel Tremblay — and one who does most of the music-making — Josué Beaucage, who also composed music for the piece) inhabit an elegantly-appointed stage containing set pieces and props indicating a sea-side environment.
Waves, all that Glow Sees
closes April 1, 2018
Details and tickets
What follows is forty minutes of a delightful impressionistic experience that engages the young audience with music, wonderful and creatively low-tech visual slights-of-hand, charmingly unforced comedic acting — and very little language or anything resembling plot.
It’s slightly, gently interactive — after my daughter had her chance to touch the air-bound jellyfish, she said, “I’m enjoying doing this!”
The audience was attentively spellbound and transported. As far as parents go, if I must admit that my mind wandered occasionally, I will also freely cop to being quite moved by one of the climactic sequences.
And, of course, it never gets old, or less poignant, watching the very young being introduced to, and becoming enchanted by, live theatre.
Here’s the chance to give a wonderful treat (and not the sugary kind) to the wee ones in your life. You’ve got until April 1st to enjoy this inventive, imaginative Canadian company as it provides the manifold joys of a summer day at the beach…all without any danger of a sunburn.
Waves, all that Glows Sees. Conception and direction: Véronique Côté. Featuring Josué Beaucage and Guy Daniel Tremblay. Sets, costumes, and lighting: Erica Schmitz. Original music: Josué Beaucage. Lyrics and music for the song “Juste beaux”: Josué Beaucage. Technical Support: Joeé Lachapelle. A creation of Le Théâtre des Confettis, presented by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Family Theater. Reviewed by Christopher Henley.