Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dancing to Harold and the Purple Crayon

There are a few things I should have said to my very inquisitive, very talkative, very literal 6 year old daughter before the Hubbard Street Dance Company's performance of Harold and the Purple Crayon this afternoon.

1. Unlike most stage performances you've seen, this story will be told with dancers, not actors.
2. Aside from some narration, there will be no talking.
3. You, as an audience member, should not be talking.
4. You are not so thirsty that you cannot survive a 60 minute performance without a beverage.
5. I do not require--nor desire--that you read me every word of the program out loud.
6. While the dancers are using their bodies to tell the story, their every moment will not be a literal interpretation of the book as you remember it.
7. They may use different dancers--even women--to play the part of Harold. This is in no way shocking, wrong or against the rules.

In spite of Z's endless stream of questions and commentary and the noise and seat-kicking of the poorly behaved kids seated behind us, I really enjoyed the performance. I don't make an effort to see dance as often as I should. I also really appreciate Hubbard Street Dance's partnership with Target since it meant $5 tickets for this performance. Any time we can share the performing arts with our kids for less than the cost of movie ticket is wonderful. But I have a couple of bones to pick with Hubbard Street nonetheless. Two, to be exact.

1. Where was the dragon? Even my 3 year old knows the story well enough to know a major plot point was missing, and how much fun would a dragon be to interpret?

2. Why is your promotional photo (left) so misleading? The little I did do to prepare my kids involved telling them the dancers would be "painting with glow sticks" and nothing of the sort was included in the show. In fact, all of the drawings appeared Reading Rainbow-style on a screen behind the dancers.

Disclosure: I paid for my own tickets to the show. We also shelled out $14 to park. And while my 6 year old was full of questions and commentary, 3 year old A was awestruck for the first 45 minutes (and quiet but tired for the last 15).