For those of you who were sad to hear The Green Sheep wasn't in Seattle Children's Theatre's lineup this year, be sad no longer. Dot & Ziggy has come to save the day. This darling, original production by Linda Hartzell (SCT's own artistic director) and Mark Perry is an ideal toddler launching pad to a life of loving theater.
Ladybug Dot and Skunk Ziggy are neighbors learning to be friends as they sort through their differences. She likes circles, he likes lines. She likes up, he likes down. Neither of them likes to share. Thank goodness, there is a practical spider and an enthusiastic audience to help them rhyme, sing and dance their way to harmony.
The SCT lobby is the auditorium and stage for this production. Seating is simple as the audience is ushered onto four large mats dissected by two aisles. Kids will love that they can choose their favorite color to sit upon. Parents will love that there is not a bad seat in the house. (Keep in mind you are sitting on the floor, so dress accordingly.) The actors use the aisles in between the mats and much of the periphery, which keeps even the littlest child engaged in the action. With a few props, large movements and a little physical comedy, opposite concepts such as in and out, up and down, round and straight become fun and easy to understand.
The natural light of the lobby brightens the colors in the show and engages the audience. Being able to see the reaction on children's faces across the floor from the actors is almost as entertaining as watching the actors themselves. Repeat games and familiar music (played live in the lobby) make it easy to join in. And as you enter into rhymes and dancing and reaching for streamers and bubbles, you, the audience, become truly important to the play; the 12th man of SCT, if you will.
My 3-year-old loved Dot & Ziggy. I know this because we saw it in the morning and he remembered it at dinner. Honestly, that is a big compliment. I loved Dot & Ziggy because I got to watch him laugh out loud when Dot buzzed Ziggy, see his blissful expression when kite steamers swished through his little fingers and catch him as he stumbled while turning himself around Hokey Pokey-style.
As the audience disperses post-show, Dot and Ziggy and Spider visit with the kids and welcome questions and pets for their puppet props. It's relaxed, casual and lovely. Thanks SCT for giving us not only a new, great production to watch, but a great experience together with our kids.
IF YOU GO
Where: Seattle Children’s Theatre, 201 Thomas St, Seattle.
When: Now through Feb. 24; Tuesdays through Sundays, various afternoon showtimes.
Cost: $20 per ticket.
Contact: 206-441-3322; www.sct.org/Shows/On-Stage/Dot-Ziggy.
Erika Lee Bigelow rhymes and writes and lives in Seattle with her husband, one Dot and two Ziggys.