Today I took the children to their first play. Actually, I have to qualify that it was their first professional performance. Aidan reminded he was in a wonderful production of Scrooged this Christmas at Brookwood School. Nevertheless, we went to the Esplanade Recital Studio to see Hello Elly!
The play is inspired by a story called the The Elephant and the Tree written and illustrated by Singaporean author Jin Pyn Lee. I was not familiar with the book but we purchased a copy at the production. It is simple but nicely illustrated in black and lime green. It tells the story of an elephant and a tree that grow up happily together, then watch their forest destroyed by man and finish their days in captivity recounting a better time when they were free.
The elephant has to work hard labor for humans and the tree becomes a wooden saddle strapped to his back. Kind of an darker version of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstien from my youth. .
Fortunately, the play was much lighter. The actors sang songs about elephants and the production was based on Elly the Elephant and Tree’s quest to find words that begin with each letter of the alphabet. The children sat on the floor instead of in chairs and there were many aspects that involve their participation.
The program stated the show was for 2 to 4 year olds. Aidan was on the older end of the audiance spectrum but he enjoyed it. It distressed him though when the cast member described first as “the hunter” was looking for Elly and we were asked not to tell where the elephant was hiding nearby. The two year olds of course kept yelling “He’s Over There!!!” Aidan kept telling them to shut up so the elephant could be free. Definitely a difference in developmental stages.
Fortunately the “hunter” turned out to be a park ranger and the deforestation of the trees could be undone by clapping and singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Aidan astutely asked if the buildings were gone where then do the people live. Ugh, too many questions for a ABC play maybe that is why 4 is the upper age limit 🙂
At the end of the play Aidan said “That Rocked!!” so I took that as a big thumbs up. In April they are staging a production of The Magic Seashore where you join the lead characters Ling and Peppy to learn the ups and downs of prepositions!?! Only in education obsessed Singapore are the preschoolers learning prepositions in America we are happy if our toddler say “up” and reach somewhat in the proper direction.