Pittsburgh International Children's Festival to offer tentfuls of fun
Kuniko Yamamoto tells Japanese stories in "Origami Tales."
"Plop," from Windmill Theatre of Australia, is based on the picture book "The Terrible Plop."
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Because the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival fills the lawns around Carnegie Library in Oakland with activities and music, it can seem like an outdoor festival. But the heart of the festival, now in its 26th year, is indoors in nearby theaters. And for that matter, most of the other activities take place under tents or, in the case of one special exhibit, is the tent.
"The Children's Festival takes place in rain or shine," says executive director Pam Lieberman. "Many of the activities and all of the main stage performances take place under tents or in the beautiful and intimate theaters of the University of Pittsburgh."
Families miss much of the festival if they don't get to the plays. "They are a fabulous and affordable introduction for families to the joys of live theater," she says of the festival that runs from May 16-20 with plays ranging from puppet to comedy to music.
But like last year, the biggest attraction is a tent of sorts. That would be Mirazozo. It is a luminaria -- a huge installation of light, color and ambient music through which you wander at your own pace. A bulbous, balloon-like sculpture was a hit last year. This year the creators, Architects of Air, will bring a new luminaria to the festival on Mazeroski Field adjacent to the Frick Fine Arts Building.
• "Dudes." Part of the Cultural Trust's Distinctively Dutch Festival, Beumer and Drost's physical theater and comedy is set in the unlikely environs of a sport team's locker room. (Netherlands, ages 6 and up). Charity Randall Theatre: 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Wed.; 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Thurs.-Fri.; 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sat.; and 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sun.
• "Plop!" This show by Windmill Theatre is meant for toddlers and preschoolers. Two actors and one musician follow a group of animals who are on a mission to stop the terrible Plop. "The play teaches kids in a disarming and non-scary way how to summon up courage and overcome fears of the unknown," says Ms. Lieberman. (Australia, ages 1-5) Studio Theatre in the Cathedral of Learning: 9:45 a.m. Wed.-Thurs.; 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Fri.; 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Sat. and 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sun.
• "Mirazozo." (Architects of Air, Nottingham, UK, all ages) Festival Grounds, $5. Entry every half hour.
• "Cinderella." Puppeteer Shona Reppe's one-woman show is a whimsical, witty version of Cinderella. (Scotland, ages 5 and up). Frick Fine Arts Auditorium; : 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Wed.-Fri.; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sat. and Sun.
• "Origami Tales." Kuniko Yamamoto combines storytelling and large origami to tell classical Japanese stories including the "Origami Dragon," "1,000 Paper Cranes" and "The Sushi Net." (Japan/USA, ages 4 and up). Bellefield Hall: 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Wed.; 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Thurs.-Fri.; 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sat. and 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
• "World of Rhythm." Also part of the Distinctively Dutch Festival, Holland's Drums United play drumming traditions from around the world. (Netherlands, ages 6 and up). Bellefield Hall: 11:15 a.m. Fri.; 11:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Sat. and 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sun.
When: Outdoor activities and performances: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday. See theater schedule below.
Where: University of Pittsburgh theaters and Schenley Plaza, Oakland.
Tickets: Tickets $8 ($5 for Mirazozo), Children 2 and under free, but lap pass is required; www.pghkids.org.
First Published May 13, 2012 12:00 am