Many parents and kids are familiar with Doreen Cronin's hilarious children's books about the antics of Farmer Brown's antagonistic farm animals. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type is a family favorite, so I was eager to see what the contentious farm animals were up to in SecondStory Rep's Duck for President, based on the book by the same name, especially as we are in the midst of choosing our own president.
SecondStory Rep is a great place to introduce kids to theater. The theater has coloring pages to keep little ones entertained as they wait to be seated. If they want, audience members can sit on the carpet right in front of the action. The theater is intimate, so there really isn't a bad seat in the house. During the introduction, the stage manager goes over theater rules and lets kids know when they should be quiet and when it is alright to talk. After the show, kids get to meet the actors (still in costume) in the lobby.
I opted to bring my 9-year-old to see the play and found myself wishing I'd brought my 5-year-old instead. It is a musical, so I know my little one would have loved the fun costumes and songs, but my 9-year-old and her friend were less interested in these parts. However, they could certainly relate to the dialogue portions of the play where the farm animals complained about doing chores and getting up early. (I sympathized with Farmer Brown's frustration at the animals' lack of motivation to pitch in and help!)
The animals balk at the increased work load and decide they should have a say in who runs the farm. They hold an election believing the charismatic Duck will do a better job than Farmer Brown. Spurred by success (and surprise at the amount of work it takes to run a farm), and along with the equally ambitious Pig, Duck goes on to run for governor and eventually President of the United States.
Kids get a fun lesson in how our electoral process works and come away understanding things like what a debate is and why it is important to vote. I loved that the play included a musical salute to Susan B. Anthony and nods to various presidents throughout history.
While my daughter and her friend enjoyed the jokes, and especially loved Duck's hysterical campaign commercials, they were probably a hair too old for the production. It seems most ideal for 6- and 7-year-olds. They are young enough to enjoy the musical numbers, but old enough to absorb a bit of the electoral process.
All in all this adorable production offers a ducky way to introduce young grade-school kids to the democratic process.
IF YOU GO
Where: SecondStory Repertory resides at Redmond Town Center, 16587 N.E. 74th St. in Redmond.
When: Now through Sept. 30; Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Admission: $10; Sunday discount of $5 for children ages 1 to 3, and free for children younger than 1.
Contact: 425-881-6777, www.SecondStoryRep.org.
Laura Spruce Wight is a Seattle-area freelance writer and mother of two.