Fans of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series will be indisputably thrilled that We Are In A Play! is the 2015-2016 season opener for Seattle Children’s Theatre. And whether you’re new to the delights of Gerald (an elephant) and Piggie (a pig) or already charmed devotees, you won’t be disappointed by this hour of family fun. So grab your tiniest ticket holders and read on for the inside scoop on this tale of friendship and adventure.

photo: Seattle Children’s Theatre

The Story
Mo Willems, the prolific and highly-acclaimed children’s book author (best known for the Elephant and Piggie, Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny series), is also the dynamo behind the script and lyrics of this newest play. Borrowing plot lines and characters from a number of his books, We Are In A Play! follows worry wart, Gerald, and fun-loving, Piggie through their day where “anything can happen.” Whether it’s finding the perfect outfit for a party or reacting to a friend’s mistake, the slightly neurotic Gerald and ever-optimistic Piggie approach the day’s obstacles in different ways, but their charming loyalty to one another is the common thread through this easily-followed by perfectly oddball plot.

Dress Up - Elephant-Piggie-_We-Are-in-a-Play via Seattle Childrens Theatre

photo: Seattle Children’s Theatre

Designed for All Ages
For those families with older kids, fear not! Although this play is decidedly G-rated, it manages to keenly avoid becoming saccharine. While the pre-K thru 2nd grade crowd will adore that their favorite early reader books have found their way onstage, the clever one-liners sprinkled throughout (Darth Vadar impressions never disappoint) will keep parents and even the most persnickety tween engaged and smiling. There’s also lots of physical comedy and ample singing, dancing and boogie-woogie piano music, so expect to be tapping your toes throughout. (If your kiddos aren’t fond of loud noises or music, consider attending the sensory-friendly Relaxed Performance on November 7).

What to Expect
Fans of the Elephant and Piggie books will love that the set design perfectly captures the simplicity of the books’ styling. And while Director Rita Giomi has cleverly banished any cartoony costumes or giant foam caricatures for Gerald and Piggie (thank goodness), Willems’ devotees will instantly connect with the actors who easily take on the personas of these two beloved friends. Notable new characters include the Motown-esque singing Squirelles who make frequent lyrical appearances and offer a more mature perspective on the happenings of the moment.

But you don’t have to have read the books to appreciate both the craft and message of this upbeat play. As you watch Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through their day together, strong themes such as friendship, sharing, listening to others, showing gratitude and loving your own (weird and wacky) talents arise frequently and make for easy opportunities for family discussions after the lights go up.

The Squirelles We-Are-in-a-Play_-150_rev

photo: Seattle Children’s Theatre

Good to Know
This play is a quick one-hour and like all SCT performances, it concludes with a brief 10 minute post-show discussion between the audience and cast. The actors quickly engage kids with thoughtful and humorous questions about the themes of the play, and they give kids the chance to lob technical or theme-related questions back to the cast and crew. This is a classy, personal touch on an already top-notch show and speaks to the professionalism of the SCT staff and their commitment to making these performances digestible and enjoyable for their young audience. Stick around a bit longer, and your budding thespians can get their programs signed by Gerald and Piggie themselves! Or take a picture with their very own cute mugs in a Gerald and Piggie cutout.

kidwithgerald via Katie Gruver

photo: Katie Gruver

Seattle Children’s Theatre
201 Thomas St.,
Seattle, Wa 98109
206-441-3322
Online: sct.org

Dates: Daily, through Dec. 6, 2015
Cost: $22-$40
Ages: 4 & older
Buy Tickets: ct.org/tickets

Do you love Gerald and Piggie? Tell us your favorite Mo Willems’ book in the Comments below. And be sure to check out the other Red Tricycle approved theatrical events coming soon to a stage near you!

— Katie Gruver