Writing Our World! (WOW!) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Writing Our World! (WOW!)

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Writing Our World! (WOW!), Child's Play Touring Theatre, at the Goodman Theatre. For 21 years the Chicago-based Child's Play Touring Theatre has traveled the country performing works based on stories written by children. And their newest production is children's theater at its most engaging, creative, and fun. This lively multicultural smorgasbord of catchy songs, short plays, and eloquent poems has been culled from submissions to the troupe's Web site by children in Norway, India, Mexico, Australia, the United States, and other countries.

Some of the pieces are fairy tales: one fable reveals why animals first chose to live in different parts of Africa while another, about a man facing a difficult choice, features dragons. Some are stories about family, including one that places a boy's mother in grave danger, and some are poems about making the world a better place. Others touch on world events: in one hilarious little play, BBC anchors decide to report only happy news, and a sad, beautiful poem revolves around remembering loved ones who died September 11.

The five actors--among them associate music director Jonathan Wagner, who also plays keyboard and guitar--effortlessly create characters from princes to hippos on Brian Bembridge's colorful multilevel set. Enthusiastic and energetic, they encourage rhythmic clapping during some scenes and invite children onstage to participate (and don costumes) in others. Younger children should be spellbound, and older children and their parents delightfully entertained.

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