Charming adventure tale is designed for the preschool set
Two little mice set off on an adventure to the moon in search of cheese in The Rose Theater’s latest Theater for the Very Young production, Mouse on the Move. The 45-minute interactive production designed for preschool audiences opens at The Rose Theater on its Hitchcock Stage on Oct. 15 and continues through Nov. 6.
Mouse on the Move tells the story of Nellie and Amelia, two mice sisters who are eager to explore the world outside their mouse hole. While Amelia is very adventurous, Nellie is a bit more shy. Together, they decide to go to the moon, since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese. En route to the moon, the little mice discover a beautiful garden, navigate uncharted waters, explore the galaxy and more.
The language in Mouse on the Move is simple and silly at times, making it ideal for young children and for children on the autism spectrum. The show has been designed specifically for first-time theater-goers with simple scenes and an abundance of physical action. “Mouse on the Move is not overly verbal. It does use language, but the piece is terrifically physical. All these things combine to make it a very enjoyable and exciting piece for very young audiences and children on the autism spectrum,” says Rose Artistic Director Matthew Gutschick.
“With Mouse on the Move, we are entering into a world where the scale of the world really changes. The audience will enter through a giant mouse hole into a mouse’s universe,” says show director Michael Miller.
Miller explains that the show uses colorful props and set pieces to serve multiple purposes — giant clothespins and buttons give audiences a sense of being as small as a mouse while also giving them the opportunity to imagine all the different things these household objects might become. The mice transform objects into useful tools and manipulate the things in their environment. A giant clothespin, a spool of thread and a button combine to be a car; similar props transform into a boat and a flying machine.
On their adventures, Ellie and Amelia help other creatures, including a mother ladybug, momma starfish, and even a shy kitten. “They encounter these characters along the way who need their help,” says Miller. “They have to be resourceful for themselves, as well as for others. The mice learn along the way how capable they are and maybe that they didn’t need to go on such a long journey away to find what they were looking for.”
The semi in-the-round format allows audiences to be right in the middle of the action and to interact with the performers, if they choose. While traditional seating will be available for those who prefer it, families may also select a seat on the stage in one of three areas: a ladybug garden, an area filled with green leaves or a starfish-filled beach. This allows them to be front and center to interact with the performers on stage.
“The kids have a role to play along the way. This is not only theater that is written for the very young, but it also gives audiences many ways to interact with the story,” says Miller. He explains that children get to become a part of the action. After being seat, children will be given a small knapsack of items. Throughout the show, the actors will ask the audience to help them look for things in their bag to help tell the story. For example, the audience is asked to ring a small bell every time they see the moon in the play. Children might also be asked to hold giant flowers, become grass swaying in the wind or to answer questions from the characters.
Mouse on the Move is recommended for families of children ages three and up. The show is approximately 45 minutes long without an intermission. It is presented on The Rose’s Hitchcock Stage, the black box-style theater on the theater’s fourth floor.
The show runs Oct. 15 through Nov. 6 2016, with performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 and 11:00 am; and select Tuesdays at 10 am. Contact The Rose Box Office at (402) 345-4849 for more information.
Tickets for Mouse on the Move are $12. Members of The Rose receive discounted tickets to the production.
Mouse on the Move is sponsored by The Vetter Foundation.