'In Tents with Recess Monkey' is Guaranteed Fun for the Whole Family

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10 year-old Saffi Watson inspires a new generation at Teatro ZinZanni's ‘In Tents with Recess Monkey' playing on select weekends through July 15. Photo by Keith Brofsky.
10 year-old Saffi Watson inspires a new generation at Teatro ZinZanni's ‘In Tents with Recess Monkey' playing on select weekends through July 15. Photo by Keith Brofsky.

There are seven shows remaining for Teatro ZinZanni‘s new show for children, In Tents, featuring award-winning local kindie rock band Recess Monkey. Make sure to get tickets for the whole family because you don’t want to miss this truly unique experience. In Tents is a circus and concert all in one except in a much more intimate atmosphere (the venue holds 285 guests). My two young daughters and I enjoyed every minute we were there.

To start with, the pre-show activities featuring carnival games and popcorn start an hour before the show. Games cost $2 each to play, and the best part is that every child wins a prize at each game. My two‑and‑a‑half year old couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with her beanbag toss, but much to her delight she still won!

The show itself is an hour and fifteen minutes long because it’s geared towards young children who don’t have attention spans longer than that. But if you’re worried that your child can’t sit still even for that amount of time, don’t worry. The kids aren’t expected to sit quietly at all. In fact, in the beginning, they’re invited to a special area right in front of the stage before the concert begins. The woman sitting next to me likened it to a kiddie mosh pit. The children were encouraged to dance along to the music. The three band members in Recess Monkey are all local elementary school teachers, and they have a knack for communicating with children. The kids jumped along during ‘Popcorn’ and all froze when they were supposed to stop popping. The entire concert was interactive.

The circus acts featured Teatro ZinZanni cast members, including Ariana Lallone, a former principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Sergey Krutikov, and Korum Bischoff. The highlights for me were Peter Pitofsky as the Circus Master and Saffi Watson, a ten year old contortionist. Pitofsky’s slapstick and improv delighted the audience. Watson’s movements were so precise and her contortions were mind-blowing. I’m not saying she was an amazing contortionist for a ten year old girl. I’m saying she was phenomenal. Period. She was as good as any performer I’ve seen in Cirque du Soleil.

I cannot recommend this show highly enough. If you have children (I’d say up to age twelve or so), they will love the one-of-a-kind In Tents show. They can get the best seats in the house in the mosh pit too. On a side note, while you should keep an eye on your kids, the staff does an amazing job keeping the mosh pit children out of the aisles and pathways without disrupting the show or their experience.

In Tents runs through July 15, 2012.

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