That’s Weird Grandma-Holiday Extravaganza

By Amilo Rajandram (age 11)
Alcott Elementary School
December 2019

I recently went to watch a few short sketches at a theater, called the Neo Futurist Theater, and they were performed by PlayMakers Laboratory (more commonly known as the Barrel of Monkeys). They were plays that were created by children within the CPS (Chicago Public Schools) school system, but performed by adults, and the actors made it very witty. The show is going on from Saturday December 14 to Saturday December 21 2019, and it is called “That’s Weird Grandma-Holiday Extravaganza.” This is an ongoing production, but these plays were written specifically for the holidays and the theme of the plays was mostly based on the festive season.

The stage was very small and simple, and the actors hid things around the audience, which they picked out during the performance. After they performed in a play, they would go behind a curtain to put a wig on, or grab a prop. Moreover, the plays were fast paced, and I thought some of them were improvised, which was interesting. There were only eight actors, but the acting was very clever, because they moved from one play to another very quickly. Because the plays were written by children, the stories were not really serious – they were very funny in fact. Some of the actors played the piano during the performance, which had very catchy rhythms and lyrics and were fun to listen to.

I think that the play called Don and the Three Mimes stood out to me. It was an amusing story about a mad scientist who built an evil robot, but three dancing mimes always messed up his plans when he was not looking. This was cleverly written.

Overall I think the production was very entertaining and creative. I would recommend an age range of 5-10 years but it’s also fun for adults too. I think that it is cool that children are having plays that they wrote performed on stage. If you love imaginative stories, you should catch this quickly before its performance ends.

Neo Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago.
Get tickets here