Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Stella Got Her Growl Back

Yesterday, Francine and I took Alexander to see a live stage show featuring Diego from the popular Go, Diego, Go cartoon.

Diego Marquez is the eight year old cousin of Dora the Explorer the adventurous little girl who wanders around with her best friend, the monkey Boots. Diego is an animal rescuer and the show is modeled off of Dora's show -- likely as a ploy to reel in male children who can perhaps more easily associate with a little boy than a little girl (not that there seems to be that issue about Dora, because she's pretty widely loved by bother boys and girls). Hmm, come to think of it, they probably created Diego so that there could be a whole new line of tie-in products to sell to kids and their parents.

I have to admit, I do like Rescue Pack and his theme song much better than Dora's Map and his theme song. Sure, map is cool and helps you find things, but what kid (or 39 year old child like me) wouldn't want a cool dude rescue pack that can turn into almost anything you need?

And besides, how could you not like a song that goes "I'm rescue pack, I've got your back!" (Such a cool phrase and play on words)

Alexander was pretty excited to go see the show -- and, although he enjoys watching Dora and Diego, among other cartoons, on Treehouse, he's not one for sitting long; so we were a little bit concerned about confining him in a dark theatre for over an hour. The only time he sits still for long periods of time are when he's strapped into the car seat and we're taking that six hour drive up past Sudbury to visit my Mom. Most of the time he's bouncing around the room off the furniture while he's "watching" a show.

That's what makes shows like Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go fun -- they encourage kids to participate, yell things out, jump up, clap and other actions that help them in their adventures.

And the stage show was a wonderful translation of the cartoon, incorporating lots of music and singing and dancing and fun lighting and stage effects to bring the cartoon characters to life. The coolest part was when Diego first came onstage to the "Go, Diego, Go" theme song, swinging in from stage left on a giant vine. I also loved it when Dora swung onto the stage in the second act to her own theme song. The kids (and I'll admit, Fran and I too) went nuts when Dora first took to the stage.

Alexander was pretty quiet during the show, a bit overwhelmed at the whole experience, but he did get into the groove of things, managed to sit for the hour and a half long show, and yelled out the Baby Jaguar growl, clawed in the air, jumped, danced around and yelled out answers to various questions when prompted by the characters on stage. He also took the time during intermission to check out the Strand lights mounted on a lighting rack above our heads (can you tell he's the son of an ex-lighting designer? That's my boy!)

Around bedtime when he was settling down, he explained that his favourite part was when Baby Jaguar got his growl back (that was the point of the whole adventure) -- my favourite part was whenever Diego, Dora or the Bobo Brothers were swinging onto the stage on giant vines; Francine's favourite part was on the river ride when Dora and Diego encountered the silly animals making atypical animal sounds.

But the cutest part was, just before he drifted off to sleep, Alexander said with a huge grin on his face: "I can't believe they're real!" He then went on to ask if Max and Ruby were real too and started to speculate about how cool their big house would look on the stage.

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