Ants on a Log – Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline

Pipeline of Fun: Ants on a Log Reach Kids through Humor and Music

The takeaways

  • The performers did an expert job of using props and costumes to differentiate characters
  • Much of the content went over the heads of the children in the audience
  • As an adult, I found the story clever

 

In my pockets:

I attended the show with a four year old. I acknowledge that she was younger than the recommended age so her reaction to the show does impact my opinion.

 

Design:

The musical elements of the show were lively, and were the most engaging moments of the show to the audience, especially the children. I wish there had been more musical numbers that incorporated audience participation.

Although there were only two performers, the show featured multiple characters (in past iterations of this show, there have been 12 performers!). The creative use of props really helped to distinguish between the different characters. The performers used costume layering and simple props for quick changes between characters that were very clear. My favorite was the pencil!  The smog filled city line backdrop served the show’s theme and message quite well.

 

Performances:

I enjoyed Ants on a Log’s performances. They were animated and engaging throughout both the scenes and musical numbers.  

 

Direction:

The message of the show was clear – increasing civic engagement around pollution, working against corrupt politicians and corporations.The stereotypical characters in the play are the corporation CEO and the politicians, but to be honest, I think that’s necessary in the world of the play and in a show for young audiences. Although the performance space was small, the two performers created a very distinct setting throughout the space that helped the the flow of the show. It is succinct, just about an hour, but the characters were able to take the audience on a full journey.

 

The writing:

I think the show as it stands is good for young audiences, but older than their suggested age (5+). It feels more suited for 8+. Some of the references are too referential to adult political pop culture to land with the kids, and there isn’t enough simple sight and sound entertainment for younger children. For example, in order to engage the children more effectively, characters could have integrated broader lessons about pollution in general (as opposed to pollution from the play’s oil refinery).

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