Zoo Zoo: Frees your imagination

Imago Theatre
A Child Grows in Brooklyn

By Karen

This is the last weekend to catch Zoo Zoo- and we are tempted to go again before it leaves. It’s that unique. While my daughter chants for the “Angelina Ballerina show one more time”, my son is asking for “Zoo Zoo again.” Why?

First, it’s at the New Victory Theater, my favorite childrens’ theater in New York. They manage to make taking a child to the theater an easy experience: they help you stash your strollers, bikes and scooters pre-performance, have child friendly bathrooms with stools and changing table, lockers and booster seats for the kids. I especially appreciate the exceptionally friendly staff and that their gift store carries items priced from $1 up, so I can get a little something after the show without breaking the bank.

Second, Zoo Zoo by Imago Theatre of Portland, is fanciful, surreal and magical.  The opening vignette begins in the pitch dark that had the younger-than-4’s crying, but the older kids reveling in it as flying electric-white circles transformed into eyes and wheels. The opener sets the tone for the production: gravity is no longer an axiom and our imagination is freed.  The rest of the acts show animals who defy the boundaries of their habitats and bodies. Civil anteaters, dressed in their Sunday best at a restaurant, succumb to their urges of eating ants off the floor.  Penguins play musical chairs and my favorite…a bug learns how to do a handstand (spectacularly done by a dancer using her feet in a great switch-up).  The finale is, quite literally, a blast: bowsmen shoot off confetti bombs that whizz overhead with swirls of color and shrills from the children. The confetti bursts increase as the finale closes, until finally you feel that, like the best of firework displays, it can’t get any better. The children jumped from their seats, gathering the pops and strings of confetti like they were pieces of candy. My son still has his 10 foot long strand balled up next to his bed, a keepsake of a fantasical afternoon. Which is why he asks to go again and again.

While the show doesn’t have any words, the music and actions fill the theater with laughs and “ohhs”.  It’s a magical production in the New Victory’s fall lineup that is not to be missed.

“Imago makes you realize you see magic every day. I can’t think of a better way to introduce my son to the rewards of art.” – The Boston Globe