SHAKE OFF YOUR SHOES, SHAKE OFF YOUR WORRIES
Today I took my son to see his very first show ever, and I'm afraid the bar has been set very high. THE OHMIES, an interactive, musical adventure playing at the Daryl Roth Theatre until January 30th, is much more than a play. It's part concert, part dance party, part yoga class, part musical theatre, part preschool and part adventure. And if it held my two-year-old crazy-boy's attention, you know it was all fun.
This is unlike any other children's theatrical experience I've seen.....when we arrived, we were given large, recyclable bags and asked to put our coats and shoes away. (You are invited to check the bags at $1 a pop in an effort to keep the playing space free of clutter). SO glad I was wearing cute socks. Then we entered what can best be described as an environment. The set completely envelopes you and you feel like you are in a magical, colorful forest. The entire house is wrapped in theatrical lighting and the sounds of crickets and birds surround the audience. I swear I could smell a rain forest but I'm still not sure if they were releasing a scent or if it was my Mommy Brain playing tricks on me.
The audience, which was comprised of parents and two through eight-year-olds, sat on a giant yoga mat that invited comfort and movement. And move we did....lead by an adorable, singing and dancing group of friends (who just happen to be a butterfly, a caterpillar, a grasshopper, a dog and a snake....how's that for cultural diversity and tolerance?), the audience is taken on a musical journey to wake up the sun. Along the way, as children are encouraged to shake, dance and move with the cast, the basic fundamentals of yoga and connected breathing are taught as a way to chase away "the worries".
I also brought along my overly mature seven-year-old daughter and her equally evolved friend. While the show might have been just a touch young for them, they still had a great time and I think a very important, often ignored issue was addressed: School-aged kids are stressed out. Kids in first and second grade are just beginning to get a whiff of what it means to be in command of your own destiny as they tackle homework and social challenges. For the first time, kids who are six, seven and eight are feeling pressure and for them it's a new feeling. (I know, by the time you pass 35 if seems like you were born with a 70 lb weight on the back of your neck, but remember, you used to have a flexible spine). I really appreciated the way the writers introduced the concept of "the worries"....pesky little creatures that haunt us from time to time, and how deep breaths, a bit of focus and a change in attitude can help us switch gears and stop "the worries" from beating us down. I think it meant a lot to my daughter and her friend to hear someone else recognize that we all feel stress and to reassure them that there is something to be done about it.
My two year old was enchanted, my seven year old was validated, and I got a huge kick out of watching my kids and their friend interact with the material. But the audience members who got the most out of this show were the preschoolers. If you have a three, four or five-year-old and you have time to see this before it closes on January 30th, you should definitely check it out. If you can't get down there, no worries (and exhale.....). I have a feeling we will be seeing more of the Ohmies in the near future.
Get To The Point, Mom!
• An interactive, musical adventure that welcomes kids into a full-scale environment where they can join the cast in practicing basic yoga principals while having fun.
• Best for preschoolers but kids as young as two and as old as eight will enjoy.
• The show only runs until January 30th. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Ohmies on line at http://www.theohmies.com.
• Wear cute socks.