Black cast stars in play about old lady’s desire for trip back to simpler time _lowres

Illustration provided by the Manship Theatre

When the caterpillar gets hungry, something special happens — metamorphosis.

In the Baton Rouge debut of the highly sought-after production, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” family audiences can witness Eric Carle’s popular book come to life through puppetry and the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s acclaimed stage adaptation.

Melanie Couvillon, director of family programming with Manship Theatre, said she has been trying to get the show down south for several years, but the tour’s routing schedule never worked to bring them to Baton Rouge.

“Manship was thrilled when Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia was able to travel south for October 12 and 13,” she said, adding that Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is no stranger to the Manship.

They have presented several titles to Baton Rouge audiences over the last couple of years, including “Guess How Much I Love You” and “Runaway Bunny.”

“Their approach to presenting popular children’s literature is beautiful, creative and visually appealing,” Couvillon continued. “Their use of puppetry is mesmerizing to watch from start to finish.”

Even more fascinating than just the use of puppetry, the stories are narrated by a world famous actor as the puppeteers perform with a set that looks like it popped out of the storybook itself.

And audience participation is another huge deal at this show as the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia encourages the audience to be vocal.

“They announce at the start that the show has a ‘no shushing policy’. It is a great place to introduce your child to live theater,” Couvillon said.

Couvillon said that the production, while educational, is a wonderful addition to the Manship’s family programming meant to target younger audiences for whom they have presented shows for the last five years.

In conjunction with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” the Manship Theatre’s Kids Club will meet prior to the show for snacks and a creative craft performed with the LSU Museum of Art. Children who join Kids Club will receive an autograph book for the season and get perks such as special meet and greets with the professional artists performing and backstage tours with the performers to get an up close view of the sets, costumes and props. With this show, the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia will show the puppets to Kids Club members and demonstrate how the puppets work.

Along with the very hungry caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly, the triple-bill show includes the story of the fanciful account of little cloud’s travels through the sky, and the mixed up chameleon’s discovery of his own unique nature.

The target audience is ages 3-8.