I’m happy to say that my young sons love seeing plays, and they’re always enchanted by the spectacle and magic that comes with attending the theatre. So, we jumped at the chance to catch The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse at the Indiana Repertory Theatre on opening day. This was our first time visiting the IRT, so we were ooh-ing and aah-ing at all the unique details of the building, such as the twinkling stars on the ceiling of the elevator, the comfy oversized couches in the lobby, and the beautiful terrazzo flooring. (OK, mostly I was ooh-ing and aah-ing at that stuff. I love old architecture!) The kids were excited to see a play based on a popular Aesop’s fable that we had just read a few nights before. It would be fun to see the story come to life!
In the IRT’s adaptation of The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, a young mouse named William travels from his familiar home in a boot in a country barn to the big, dangerous city with his streetwise cousin named Monty. William learns how to do city stuff, like climb hot water pipes, outwit mischievous mice, and resist the temptation to eat every piece of cheese that he sees (it could be poisoned!).
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is part of IRT’s Exploring Stages program, which is designed for children ages 3 to 8.
Plays in the Exploring Stages series include pre- and post-show activities led by IRT artists, and they allow the children to interact with the actors and cast members. The kids in the audience get to sit on the floor “criss-cross-applesauce” (or what the theatre calls Storytime Seating) and enjoy the play and all the characters up-close. (Pro tip: If the theatre doesn’t give you one, ask for a seating pad to make sitting on the floor a little more comfortable! They have lots.) Parents can purchase a floor seat to enjoy the play with their children, or they can purchase a seat along the back and sides of the theatre.
Before the play began, an IRT artist came out and let the audience know that we will be “helping” William the country mouse count to 10, as well as sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” We practiced doing both so that we’d be prepared when the time came!
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is entertaining from start to finish, partly because of the way the actors move around the entire room during the play.
Most of the acting is focused toward the stage at front, but cast members also run, dance, trip and slide down the aisles, only feet away from the audience. The actors also talk to the kids during certain times of the play, asking questions and for help. This really keeps the children in the audience focused and engrossed in the play.
After the play, the cast members introduce themselves to the audience and answer questions that kids and adults might have. This part of the program is designed to enhance the understanding of the play and the experience of seeing a live play. The actors also do some movement exercises with the kids, which is a welcome activity after sitting for almost an hour!
The play lasts about 65 minutes from start to finish, and this includes the interactive learning activities at the end. There is no intermission for Exploring Stages plays, but we didn’t even need one. Times flies when you’re having fun! We will definitely be back to see what else the IRT has to offer this season.
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse runs from February 24 through March 25, 2018. Tickets for Storytime Seating are $8 for children and $15 for adults. All chair seating is $25. Approximate run time is 65 minutes with no intermission. This play is recommended for guests pre-K and older. The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis. For tickets, call the box office at 317-635-5252. For more information, call 317-635-5277, or visit www.irtlive.com.
Nicole Sipe is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis. A Southern California native, she enjoys exploring Indy with her husband and two sons.