‘Wake Up Brother Bear’ at Imagination Stage

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Imagination Stage is renowned for its inventive children’s theater, their very popular interactive theatrical experience for youngsters, Wake up Brother Bear is no different. First produced in 2010, Wake Up Brother Bear opens Imaginations Stage’s 2014-2015 season in their early childhood program called My First Imagination Stage. Creators Janet Stanford and Kathryn Chase Bryer and Director Nick Vargas, take your children (aged 1-5) on a fun adventure through the season, led by a youthful Brother and Sister Bear.

As Winter winds down, Sister Bear wakes up Brother Bear from hibernation. Accompanying  their journey through the seasons is live cellist, Katie Chambers. (L to R Nora Achrati, Jacob Yeh, and Katie  Chambers). Photo by Laura DiCurcio.

As Winter winds down, Sister Bear wakes up Brother Bear from hibernation. Accompanying their journey through the seasons is live cellist, Katie Chambers. (L to R Nora Achrati, Jacob Yeh, and Katie Chambers). Photo by Laura DiCurcio.

Entering the theater at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Studio audience members are greeted with a tree, each side representing each of the four seasons. This is the first touch of the interactive experience that is waiting for its young and intrigued audience. The group is then instructed to grab their “spot” around the circle and handed a bag of fun toys to be used to enhance this 4d (of sorts) theatrical experience.

Spring time is here, and Brother and Sister Bear encounter a butterfly for the first time! (Jacob Yeh and Nora Achrati). Photo by Laura DiCurcio.

Spring time is here, and Brother and Sister Bear encounter a butterfly for the first time! (Jacob Yeh and Nora Achrati). Photo by Laura DiCurcio.

Handing out the baggies and opening the show and the storyteller of the day is Nora Achrati as Sister Bear. Achrati is delightful as the narrating bear, she interacts with the small and very engaged audience well throughout. Achrati has a beautiful balance of high energy and subtle moments as she guides her young audience or “little people” through the interactive experience. I found her expressive reactions to what some of the children called out particularly fun. As her counterpart, Brother Bear, is Eric Yeh. Yeh does not speak throughout the show instead he delights the audience with his wildly expressive face and eyes.

Adding to the experience is cellist, Katie Chambers. Chambers provides light and fun music that is enjoyable for the “little” and “big people” in the audience. From the light sound effects to classic lullabies like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” Chambers blends perfectly with the overall show.

Imagination stage does a beautiful job of blending sound, light and interactive play that had all audience members big and small engaged throughout the show, a feat that must be seen to be believed! Wake Up Brother Bear is a ROARING success!

Running Time: 50 minutes with no intermission

Wake Up, Brother Bear plays through November 30, 2014 at Imagination Stage – 4908 Auburn Avenue, in Bethesda, MD. For tickets, call (301) 280-1660, or purchase them online.

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