Thursday, July 15, 2010
Thursday Morning in Clinton Hill: Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre's "Sleeping Beauty" at Underwood Park
An overflow crowd of little kids was entranced this morning in Clinton Hill by a performance of sublime puppetry by the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in "Sleeping Beauty."
It was an updated musical version set in Belvedere Castle, by the Swedish Cottage's home in Central Park.
The wonderful City Parks Foundation's PuppetMobile brings these shows out to neighborhood parks in the five boroughs over the summer.
Underwood Park was formerly the site of the elegant mansion of the typewriter mogul - our dad's pants company's showroom/warehouse at 87 Fifth Avenue had a 1940s Underwood we used to do office work on forty years ago - and the land was donated by his widow. You can't miss it if you get off the G train at the Washington Avenue side of Lafayette Avenue at the Clinton/Washington stop.
The kids in the audience, were mostly from First Choice Academy preschool from around the corner where we lived when we were their age, I.S. 218 Beacon on Fountain Avenue, the Beach 41st Street Houses (near where we spent our summers in Rockaway as a kid), and other day camps, day care centers and summer programs. But lots of kids were there with family members or nannies.
The show was very sweet but easily understandable. Princess Aurora is the victim of a spell by the evil witch Marisol when she turns 18, but helped by her royal parents' loyal servant Nicadou, the funky spirit Jack, and most of all by her constant companion, the unicorn Orion, of course a handsome prince comes to the rescue and wakens her from a long slumber with a kiss.
The puppeteers were skillful, the sets pretty (in the end so much time has elapsed, that the backdrop to Belvedere Castle includes skyscrapers), the marionettes with clear individual characters, and the songs whimsical and pleasant. It's ideal for young kids, with a little audience participation at the end, and not at all scary. The audience loved "Sleeping Beauty" and gave the cast a big hand at its satisfying conclusion.
As the kids exited, most to buses with their camp counselors and staff, some with their parents or nannies, the PuppetMobile got ready to head to the Bronx for tomorrow morning's performance of "Sleeping Beauty" at Crotona Park.