Teaching Compare/Contrast with The Little Mermaid

A good friend of mine, Sarah Kirkpatrick, invited my squirts and me to see a production of The Little Mermaid at Metcalf Theater located on the SIUE campus.  Directed by Johanna Beck, a 2012 graduate of SIUE in Theater Education, this production mesmerized my kiddos.  A modern take on The Little Mermaid, costumes consisted of colored jeans and brightly colored tank tops for Ariel and her sisters.  Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula’s hench-eels slithered around the stage on scooters wrapped in lights.  A ten-minute intermission occurred between Beluga Sevruga and Les Poissons with an opportunity to purchase fundraiser cupcakes, but they were sold out by the time Sarah and the squirts approached the line (bummah!).  During the performance, Sebastian surprised the squirts by running and hiding between the rows of seats in the audience.  On the way home, excited chatter asked when we could see this show again.

As luck would have it, talking with a friend at church, Carolyn Biagi, she told me about Hard Road Theater located in Highland, IL.  When I visited their website, I was pleasantly surprised to see their next production was of The Little Mermaid Jr.  Kismet!  I ordered the online tickets, and we headed to The Kennel at Highland High School on the second performance evening.  Directed by Gentry Nessel, this performance, too, took on modern elements intertwined with traditional costumes.  Ariel, Flounder, the Princesses, Flotsam, and Jetsam all swam with the use of shoes with wheels.  The overall age of the performers was much younger than those in the SIUE production, but the caliber of the performance was the same, phenomenal.  My daughters sat on the edge of their seats throughout the 21 scenes.  The fact that there was no intermission was not missed as a concession stand was available prior to the opening scene complete with beverages, popcorn, and snacks.  

The ride home consisted of discussion of the comparison of the two productions.  They were unable to pick a favorite as both showings rocked.  We look forward to another lesson in compare/contrast with use of theater.  In fact, I was able to sniff out an upcoming dance performance of The Wizard of Oz coming in January, performed by Dance St. Louis.

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