The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles: A Performance Review

By Lindsay Keller, Publisher Macaroni Kid Skokie, Niles, Park Ridge and Far Northwest Chicago April 30, 2018

This past weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to attend the official opening of The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles at the Filament Theatre, based on the best selling picture book. As the story goes, it is the Uncorker's job to find and deliver messages in bottles floating in the ocean. But secretly he wishes that one day he will find a message with his name on it. 

As many of you know, I have a two and a half year old daughter. We attended the Filament Theatre's performance of Forts a couple of months ago and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed herself. For those of you that were able to check out a performance of Forts, you know that it was a lot less structured and more play oriented. It didn't have a plot, per say, but more changing elements and different things to play with throughout the course of a "day and night." So of course I wondered how well my daughter would do sitting through an almost full hour performance. Once again, I was amazed at how interactive it was, and how well it held even my toddler's attention.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the set up. There is a giant sandbox in the middle of the performance area. There are three dock structures/stages on different sides of the room, like the points of a triangle. Between each dock, there are chairs set up for the audience members. And in front of the chairs are blankets and pillows right up next to the edges of the sandbox, also used for seating. The way the performance space is set up and the coziness of the theater make it feel like you really are part of the show. 

The performance was interactive in so many ways! The kids sitting next to the sandbox were given edges of a piece of fabric to hold on to and wave up and down to make ocean waves. They were given metal pans and spoons to make the noise of a storm. They passed around a ball of yarn--a line right off the Uncorker's map, that he then followed through the audience to get to his destination. They threw flower petals during the spring scenes and leaves in the fall. There were misting spray bottles and bubbles. The actors made their way through the audience, they played musical instruments and they danced. Even the kids who were fidgety could sit at the edge of the sandbox and put their fingers in the sand during the performance.

After the performance was over, the kids were invited to play in the giant sandbox. They were given pans and muffin tins and encouraged to make sand castles and play. Some of the actors even came down and joined them. And I'm telling you, they are truly kid people. My daughter doesn't just talk to anyone but when the actors came over and encouraged her to play in the sand, she loved it!

If you have the opportunity to take your kids and family to see The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, do it! I'm telling you, it's worth it. I can't say enough good things about the Filament Theatre. Even before they show starts, they are engaging kids. In the lobby area before we went in, the kids could make party hats, paint with water on a chalk board, play with musical instruments, and find things hidden in bottles full of rice. When we left, I asked my daughter if she had fun and got I a resounding yes! and when she woke up the next morning, she asked if we could go see the show again.

All of the performances are listed on the calendar with a special sensory friendly performance on May 20th at 11 am and a book signing by book author Michelle Cuevas on May 12th between shows.

Macaroni Kid Skokie-Niles-Park Ridge is a website and weekly newsletter focused on family events and happenings in our community. We are delighted to serve not only Skokie, Niles and Park Ridge, but also Harwood Heights, Norridge, parts of Schiller Park and Rosemont as well as the far northwest Chicago neighborhoods of Edison Park, Forest Glen, Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, parts of Portage Park and other nearby areas.