‘Blue’ at Imagination Stage

Imagination Stage presents Blue, the newest production in their Early Childhood series, written by Annie Cusick Wood and directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer. Best for children ages 1-5, this interactive show is full of fun!

Phil Reid as Inky Blue. Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage.
Phil Reid (Inky Blue). Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage. Photo by Lauren Alexander.

There is no elevated stage in this particular theater– children and their parents are invited to sit on the floor in a large semi-circle, and each child is given a playful prop to use during the show. Scenic Designer Ruthmarie Tenorio and Lighting Designer Zachary Gilbert work together to create a world where everything– the house, the garden, the cobblestone walls– are varying shades of blue. Most of the details here are in the overall set painting, and the calming tones mixed with cheery compositions by Timothy Guillot give the space a whimsical feel. Sound Designer Patrick Calhoun uses effects like chirping birds to complete the atmosphere. Overall, the creative team here did a fantastic job.

The plot of this story revolves around two friends, Inky Blue (Phil Reid) and Pale Blue (Jack Novak), who live in a world where the only color is blue. One morning, they go about attending their garden when something shocking happens… a RED flower appears! The silly and curious Inky Blue is excited about this surprise, but the more rigid Pale Blue finds himself threatened, and insists that the flower be thrown away. However, when more and more colors appear, it becomes clear that their world is changing whether Pale Blue is willing to accept it or not. Themes of tolerance and acceptance are the foundation of this play, and they shine subtly through in creative and imaginative ways.

The two actors do a great job with their roles, and I love that their characters are very different from each other, and therefore show very different reactions to the idea of change. Inky Blue is more humorous and enthusiastic, while Pale Blue is responsible, yet refrained. Pale Blue just wants to work and get on with his day, but Inky Blue is playful and wants to tease. The audience’s favorite moment was easily when Inky Blue chased a panicked Pale Blue around the stage, dangling the colorful flower in his hand. The actors ask the audience questions, and even invite a couple of them onstage during the show to help them with certain tasks. The environment is highly interactive, and the children loved it. After the show is over, everyone is encouraged to play with the props (and each other!). This show is a great opportunity to not only have an afternoon of family fun, but to also meet new people who also have children in the same age range, and perhaps make new friends for both you and your child!

Fun, imaginative, and delightfully playful, Imagination Stage’s production of Blue is a great way for your family to welcome Springtime!

Pale Blue (Jack Novak) and Inky Blue (Phil Reid). Photo courtesy of Imagination Stage.
Pale Blue (Jack Novak) and Inky Blue (Phil Reid). Photo by Lauren Alexander.

Running Time: 45 minutes, without an intermission.

Blue plays through April 12, 2015 at Imagination Stage – 4908 Auburn Avenue, in Bethesda, MD. For tickets, call (301) 280-1660 or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif