Saturday, December 09, 2023

Beatrix Potter Day

We haven't done many (any) field trips with our co-op, in large part because I'm too afraid to drive much of anywhere (and that's on me, I get that). But today's field trip was scheduled far enough in advance on a fortuitous day at the end of the semester when Andrew was able to come with us! One of the moms in our group planned an outing to a new musical having its world premiere at the Alliance theater— Into the Burrow. It's based on characters created by Beatrix Potter and was really quite an incredible performance. 

The theatre was kind enough to give our group the same educational rate as an elementary school that was also there for the performance, making things much more affordable for our family. The hallways leading to the theatre were beautifully decorated, setting up the feeling that we were descending into the burrow of Peter Rabbit as we found our way to our seats.

The production breaks the fourth wall almost immediately, inviting the audience to take part in Peter Rabbit's birthday celebration; walking down the hallways and into the burrow was a wonderful first step in creating the illusion of really being down in the burrow for the children. Throughout the show the actors invited the audience to wave and clap and even answer questions (yes-no questions, mostly) and even chant ("I say crunch! You say munch! Crunch...").

It was so immersive that at times Alexander had to grab my hand and Miriam's hand (that Mr. McGregor is just so scary). We also got to help hold the "water" Mr. McGregor used to try to flush the animals out of the burrow (Phoebe thought that was particularly awesome).

My favourite character was Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise; Jontavious Johnson did such a great job of making the turtle seem slow while still keeping his dance movements in time with the music. I understand that they had a fabulous team of coaches and directors and choreographers (and all the actors are well-trained and experienced), but I was just so impressed. 

After the performance we had a picnic lunch outside before going to the Beatrix Potter exhibit at the High Museum of Art

We've been to the museum with Grandpa and we've been to the museum with just our family, but we've never been to the museum with friends before. It was fun for the kids to get to explore the (very child-friendly) exhibit with their friends. Here are Zoë and Alexander in the reading corner with a couple of their friends (Zoë is getting a book from the shelf and Alexander is sitting on a stool):

There were many artifacts that belonged to Beatrix Potter on exhibit, alongside examples of her artwork. Her wooden pencil box, for example, and her shoes and walking stick.

It was a very well-curated exhibit showcasing both the life and works of Beatrix Potter (and made me think I might need to watch Miss Potter with the kids because I remember that movie being good). We also liked getting a little peek into Beatrix Potter's sketch book from when she was nine years old. 

Here are Benjamin and Alexander following some of the footprints on the floor (these belong to a frog):

Here's Andrew and Phoebe with a ginormous mushroom:

And here are the kids exploring drawers full of natural collections (with Potter's journal on natural dyes and a photo album in the display cases):

They had a case of magnifying sheets for the kids (and adults!) to use, which they thought was fun:

Benjamin was excited about this case, which is mostly full of frog specimens. It led him to have a wonderful discussion about his dead frog with his friend who was there (who had recently lost a pet fish when it got sucked into the filter). I was so glad we did this trip because there was only one other boy from Benjamin's class who came to the museum with us, so they declared themselves "museum buddies" and chatted as they walked around. 

Since we're new to the co-op and so many of the boys in Benjamin's class have been attending for a number of years, it's been a little difficult for Benjamin to break into the pre-established social structure. I'm really hoping this will help him fit in a little easier after the new year. 

Zoë also had a wonderful time running around with her friend L. 

This handkerchief was Miriam's favourite item in the exhibit. It belonged to Beatrix Potter and, the exhibit tells us, was featured in The Story of Benjamin Bunny as Peter Rabbit's makeshift clothes. We recognized it from the play because it was part of Peter Rabbit's wardrobe:

Phoebe loved all the little animals placed around the exhibit:

After we had our fill of Beatrix Potter, we headed to the main museum to look at a few pieces from the permanent collection.

This dish by Anish Kapoor was, as ever, a big hit.

Phoebe was fascinated by it. She kept coming back to it and then she said, "Picture, please!"

So I agreed to take her picture (and then she could hardly turn around to look at me because she wanted to keep staring into the mirrors).

We hurried through the "In the City of Light" exhibit about France before taking the kids to run off some steam in the children's rooms.

We played with colour and light:

We made tissue paper flowers:

We built some towers, and then we left to use the potty before getting in the car to drive home. I left a little earlier than everyone else with Phoebe, who hadn't used the potty since before we left the house, so that I could convince her her business. I told her that if she used the potty we could go back to play for a few minutes, so she...did her business. And then as we were walking back to the play rooms we ran into the rest of our family leaving the playrooms, so I told them all to use the restrooms while Phoebe did a few more minutes of playing.

She was happy to "hike, hike, hike the mountain" a couple of times, and then we left to meet up with everyone else.

It was a wonderful day out!

1 comment:

  1. I just watched "Miss Potter" on BYUtv, probably after a session of Conference. It's a good one, but there is some heartbreak