Recently, a friend blessed me with a few tickets to see a show at the Adventure Theatre MTC in the Glen Echo Park in Maryland. What a treat it was! Normally, you couldn’t bribe me enough to make a drive around the Washington Beltway area, but my friend assured me that the show would be worth trip. And after all, the tickets were on her.
By the time we got around to choosing a date and making our reservations to see “A Little House Christmas”, the only tickets left were to a Saturday matinee: a performance adjusted to be more sensory-friendly for children with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or other sensitivity issues. For me and my daughters, this only meant that such loud noises as the lightning (essential to at least one scene) and some other noises that I cannot describe without giving away the plot, were muted. This quietened our experience perhaps a bit, but enhanced it for some of our fellow audience members, I am sure.
The seating is bench style, and since the place is so popular it was packed. This is not so good if you are an introverted claustrophobe (like myself), but no one else seemed to be bothered and this show was engrossing enough that I soon forgot how tight the seating was. Plus, it helps to be with a larger group of friends that you don’t mind sitting close with, or just take someone that you really like. The ushers did their jobs, and by the time the show began, everyone with a ticket appeared to be comfortably seated. I took some photographs of the set before an usher gently told me that I shouldn’t.
Miss Sunshine, being seven years old, was engrossed in the show. She sat on the edge of her seat, with her hands folded, blinking only when she absolutely had to. Liddie Biddie (only four years old) was often more interested in her friend than the show. She managed to stay quiet, but she was more interested in cuddling and seeing how close she could snuggle up to my friend without actually crawling inside her sweater. I can only imagine that if the show sounds had been louder, she would have been as engrossed as her older sister.
After the show, by virtue of my friend’s preparations, my girls were able to walk onto the stage. After being given the rules – absolutely no touching the props – Miss Sunshine promptly fondled a faux fur shawl worn by one of the Ingalls girls, and Liddie Biddie tried to eat an adobe gingerbread man off a tray on the wood stove. (Can I admit that it is sort of a relief that they heed other authority figures as well as they heed me?) I almost forgot myself when closely inspecting a window rigged so that ‘rain’ fell against its outer side.
Everyone working the Theatre was gracious, and the audience was cultured, the children engaged. I would gladly go back, even given the traffic and the bench seating. Some things are just worth it. The show was amazing. The set was beautiful, and the actors all very, very good in my humble opinion.
After our brief tour of the building (which involved hugging everyone who would sit still for it), Miss Sunshine announced on the way out that she wants to be an actress. Adventure Theatre does offer classes as well as summer camps. You can bet we will be looking into that!