The obvious challenge of theater for the very young is getting the audience to sit still and be quiet. “Dot & Ziggy,” now playing at Seattle Children’s Theatre through Feb. 24, skips right over both with an interactive show for kids 0-4 where outbursts are tolerated and squirming and dancing are encouraged.
The audience, seated on uncrowded mats in the SCT lobby, can roll around, wiggle, sing and hokeypokey throughout the 35-minute production. It’s the only way a play could work for my son, Owen, who turns 2 this month. He has a lot of energy and the attention span of a Twitter feed, but he was rapt from the moment the two performers came down the lobby stairs, playing a recorder, to lead the audience to its seats.
The show was co-created by Mark Perry and SCT artistic director Linda Hartzell. A ladybug, Dot (Molli Corcoran), and a skunk, Ziggy (Ian Lindsay), offer a sweet and delightfully enthusiastic take on a tired toddler story line: learning to share.
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Dot likes circles and Ziggy likes lines. Dot likes things in and Ziggy likes things out. Dot’s home is cool and wet, while Ziggy’s is warm and dry. A big spider must help them overcome their differences.
In the meantime, Dot and Ziggy tumble and dance along two aisles between the audience’s four floor mats, leading the audience in familiar songs, like the hokeypokey and “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” with accompaniment from SCT musician Rob Jones. In the audience, we were misted with water and bubbles and invited to touch our noses, shake our backsides, and stretch out our hands to allow a kite string to tickle our fingers.
The show’s magic is in its simplicity, and it manages to be calming instead of frenetic. Much of the show is Corcoran and Lindsay playing with boxes and a toy skunk and ladybug. A little silly physical humor kept the mood light. My son watched most of the show on his knees, and laughed uproariously when Corcoran and Lindsay balanced on inflatable steppingstones, repeating a rhyming song.
“Dot & Ziggy” might bore a child over 4 or 5, but even babies watched with interest, and it was a rollicking introduction to theater for kids ages 1, 2 and 3.
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @EmilyHeffter