Bridge To The Future

Bridge To The Future

Just one short bridge stands between three hungry billy goats and the fragrant, verdant grass in the meadow — so what could possibly go wrong?

Lots, as it turns out, due to the mean, angry trolls that live under the bridge. In Trike Theatre’s production of “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” the goats have to devise a plan to pass — something they do with the help of their audience, comprising kids 5 years old and younger.

“Our story is interactive,” says “Gruff” director — and Trike artistic director — Kassie Misiewicz. “It’s a wonderful way for the kids to be able to help our actors retell the story of the three billy goats gruff. It’s also a story about friendship between the two trolls who are constantly bickering. In the end, they realize they don’t want to be mean to each other anymore.”

Misiewicz says this kind of interactivity helps keep the attention of the Little Trikes series’ audiences.

“These are young people who are developing,” she says. “They’re still exploring their world through role playing and imagination. They’re taking on characters, acting out stories — it’s very difficult for them to sit and watch someone else play for them. This is a development-rich show for younger audience members to get acclimated to the theater, to have a really, positive connected experience so they want to go back.”

David Anthony is a resident actor and teaching artist at Trike who is performing in “Gruff.” He says that this type of interactivity is as exciting to the actors as it is to the kids in the audience.

“The energy they bring, it’s so different [than adults],” says Anthony. “Especially when you get to interact with them. They’re really your partner, and you’re going on a journey with them — not just showing them a journey. It’s so encouraging when you’re that close, and you look into their eyes, and [it’s like] they’re saying, ‘Oh my goodness, we’re crossing this bridge together. We’re in this different world together.’ It’s like a new community, each time you’re in a new show. I think that’s one of the things I enjoy about Trike. It’s about building that community, building that magic of a story.”

Jaddy Ciucci has worked with Trike twice before, after performing in other children’s theater venues that were much larger. She says the intimacy of the Trike Theatre space makes Trike special.

“Trike focuses on making sure everybody can see, and nobody has a bad seat,” she says. “It’s an intimate setting, and people really feel like they’re part of the show. The children feel like it’s so much more special — they can’t check out, because they’re so engaged.”

Stage manager Shannon Spargo adds that what Trike delivers is so much more than a simple performance.

“By the time we get to the performance, a lot of my role is sitting and watching,” she says. “From the moment that the kids walk in, from front-of-house management to watching our actors interact with them, it’s really hit me how much people are focused on the full child. [The kids] learn to work together as a team and be friends with people they just met, jump into a situation that requires them to make choices and move toward a goal. Trike is constantly encouraging life skills, how to become part of a community, how to learn who you are as a person.”

The show will be running for three weeks — one week at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale and two at Trike’s theater in Bentonville. At $6 a ticket, Trike strives to keep the cost of the performances accessible to all audiences, and Misiewicz says that organizations and churches can contact the theater to find out more about ticket assistance for those who need it.

“We’re also giving away ‘Plays in a Box,’ extension materials that will help the families retell the story at home,” says Misiewicz. “We were able to experiment with that through a grant from the Walmart Foundation.”



‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’

WHEN/WHERE — 9:30 & 11 a.m. Jan. 19-20 at Arts Center of the Ozarks (214 S. Main St., Springdale); 9:30 & 11 a.m. Jan. 23-26; 3 & 4:30 p.m. Jan. 27; 9:30 & 11 a.m., Jan. 30-Feb. 2; 3 & 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at Trike Theatre (209 NE Second St. in Bentonville)

COST — $6

INFO — 464-5084

Categories: Family Friendly