Do you ever wonder what bugs are thinking as they go about their business every day? How do spiders feel when they hear the roar of the vacuum cleaner? Do flies want a place of their own, away from their many brothers and sisters? Do worms feel like they measure up to their winged and multi-legged friends (even though worms are quite fascinating themselves)?
It turns out their life is a lot like ours. Based on Doreen Cronin’s popular picture books (illustrated by Harry Bliss, whose art makes appearances in the show), Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly takes us to a world just beneath our feet, where bugs go to school and think about what they want to be when they grow up. But their world is so much more than that. Bug facts—and Spanish, spoken by the lovely mariposa (butterfly)—plant nuggets of information that will have viewers looking at insects, arachnoids, and worms more carefully and thoughtfully. Don’t be surprised if your young theatergoer starts telling people how much weight an ant can lift or how many times a fly beats its wings in a minute.
The imaginative set and hip-hop numbers add to the fun, but it’s the young cast that really shines. With the exception of the role of Ms. McBee, their wise teacher, all the parts are played by teens. And they are exceptional, with talents in song, dance, and acting far beyond their age.
Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly is recommended for ages 4 and up, and with a one-hour running time (with no intermission), it’s perfect for little first-timers. Although it’s geared toward the younger set, my 8-year-old was really excited to go. She loves the books and was eager to see it come to life. It’s not essential to read them beforehand, but she loved telling me how the scenes in the play were portrayed in the books.
Stick around for autographs and a meet-and-greet with the cast after the show. And before the curtain rises, kids can put their bug-hunting skills to the test with a scavenger hunt. (Don’t worry; the critters they’re looking for aren’t real.)
Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly runs through June 2 at the Newmark Theater. Showtimes are Saturdays (2 p.m. and 5 p.m.) and Sundays at (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). (Sign-interpreted performance is Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m.) If you’re driving, get there with enough time to park and walk. (Keep in mind that parking is free on Sundays until 1 p.m.)
- Why Portland Public Schools is Redrawing School Boundaries - November 8, 2022
- “Frozen”: The Ideal First Broadway Show for Young Theatergoers - March 17, 2020
- Review: “The Journal of Ben Uchida: Citizen 13559” at Oregon Children’s Theatre - March 7, 2020