When I saw that Oregon Children’s Theatre was doing a production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, I wondered how they were going to do an hour-long show on the classic children’s book by Eric Carle. Perhaps like me, you have read it enough to recite every line, and you know it’s only a 3-minute read. This production actually acts out four Eric Carle books: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Ten Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Busy Spider, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
I brought my nine-year old son, who has watched a number of OCT productions and my five-year-old who can’t even sit through a Disney movie and has never watched a theater production. My apprehensive first-time theater goer was quickly won over by the soothing music and familiar illustrations. The production even invites the audience to participate. At the beginning, one of the actors makes the announcement that this is a no-shushing zone — they want us to laugh and be surprised, shout in wonderment, and join the story. What a relief! By the end, parents and kids alike chimed in to the memorized lines, “On Thursday, he ate 4 strawberries, but he was still hungry.”
OCT used creative and winsome storytelling with puppetry. The seamless partnership of the actors and the simplicity of the stage made these simple stories magical to both young and old. My nine year old was captivated by the puppetry and artistic movements. And my younger son sat through the whole show and wished for more.
There were no photos allowed during the show but afterwards, they brought a number of creatures back for photos at the end. I thought that was a nice way to end the time especially since Covid doesn’t allow for pictures in the lobby with the characters for now. OCT also requires full vaccination or a negative PCR test in order to enter the venue and masking while there. There is also a live-streaming option if your family is more comfortable with that.
This production was the perfection introduction to live theater for our younger son. He loved it. When we got home, it inspired him to go pull out his Eric Carle books to re-read them. Our older son started reworking his puppet shows. Creativity and wonder begets creativity and wonder, and that’s exactly what we experienced at OCT’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar performance.