MaiTai loves his shows… and they aren’t always on a screen! InterActive Theater Company is a cast of talented actors who host several performances per season on the stage of a church in Heights area of Houston.
Our initial encounter with ITC was in April when we watched their funny rendition of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (MaiTai was two and a half). We returned this week to see “Rabbit Tales,” which is open to the public through February 13th if you want to check it out.
Web Site Link: InterActive Theater
Description: Via web site – “InterActive Theater Company produces a full season of original and interactive productions based on literature and history for children and families, as well as featuring a repertory unit to tour the metropolitan area… The mission of InterActive Theater Company is to engage and inspire children through live theater productions that reflect their own experiences and challenge their own understanding of the world in which they live.”
Location: 1548 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008 (Marie Woodward Hall at the Heights Church of Christ)
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, the church is open for field trips and school groups to watch shows. It’s open to the general public for Saturday matinees. Check the calendar for a schedule of dates and times of current performances.
Fee: $10 per individual. $6 per student for school groups of 30+. $6 each for homeschoolers. Age 3 and under are free. Get tickets and make your individual or group reservations here.
Food: None available for purchase. Of course I’d suggest to bring a snickety-snack if you must. I don’t know it’s ‘allowed’ though so don’t point fingers my way if someone complains about your crumbs. 😉
Bathrooms: Yes, right at the top of the stairs.
Contact Them: Call (713) 862-7112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other: The building opens an hour prior to show time and seating begins half an hour beforehand. Show lasts approximately an hour. There is a parking lot in front of the church. Extra parking available along 16th Street. Don’t forget there’s a lovely park called Donovan Park a few blocks away that could make for fun post-show playtime.
Photos & Feelings
The venue’s setting is pretty cozy — definitely a bonus for us if we have to get up early to make it to these shows! Speaking of which, both of the shows we attended began 15-20 mins after the stated start time. (Sweet).
Adults (and probably most non-toddler kids) can get a good view from nearly any one of the pews, which seat an audience of up to 400 (I wouldn’t expect a crowd nearly so thick, though).
MaiTai had a tough time deciding which pew he favored best. He kept ushering me back as far away from the groups as possible. I urged him to consider sitting a bit closer so he could see everything. We compromised by sharing a pew with just one other person — so long as Spiderman acted as a buffer between us.
He also really wanted his unborn baby brother to be able to “see” the show, so he insisted that I lift up my shirt. (“And KEEP it up!” he reminded). Though it made for a cute photo op, I took the first chance I could to sneak my top back down. Baby brother was getting cold! 😛
The performances are geared toward children and families. You won’t hear any innuendo or violence from the scripts (other than perhaps cartoony, comic relief type action).
The cast focuses on encouraging audience participation — hence the name “InterActive.”
This guy pictured below showed up late. Being a short person I was kind of annoyed he chose a spot right ahead of (above?) me. Without missing a beat he loudly berated the actor on stage about how disappointed he was in the show’s opening act.
Wait… oh! I recognized this man. He’s the director! And one of the actors! I explained to MaiTai how he was “in on the joke,” but apparently he already figured that out.
“I know,” he said, a split hair away from rolling his eyes at me. “He’s just pretending, Mom.”
The actors invite audience volunteers to join them on stage for directed skits. They might be prompted with props or costume items. Given the small venue, owning that stage time didn’t seem like too intimidating a feat for most theatrics-inclined kids.
Today, audience-wide bunny ears and a human action figure demonstration:
Don’t be surprised if the actors also race out into the audience and use stage surroundings without much warning. In one chase sequence, a pair of actors got a bit too close for MaiTai’s comfort and he jumped into my lap for safety as they hurtled past. Grinning, he still said it was “really funny and crazy.”
“Rabbit Tales” is a medley of well-loved rabbit stories. Could’ve guessed that, right? (Ah, Easter’s coming up soon. Makes sense).
Here are a few more pictures from the show:
Here is a slideshow of pictures from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” performance we watched at this location in April: