The Child is the Father of the Man

David Gonzalez's the Frog Bride

Parenthood brings new experiences, insights and wisdom. Recently I learned how long it takes a penny to pass through the human digestive system, and this Saturday, the Coin Swallower, his mother and I will take in some high art for the whole family. This multimedia theatrical performance arrives from an artist I'd not heard of until I enrolled in Dadhood and immersed myself in a world of thoughtful kid music and art, partly to avoid all the loud, easy commercial schlock. Poet, playwright, musician, librettist, public radio commentator and music therapist David Gonzalez (Did I mention his grants, prizes, CD and Ph. D.?) adapts the classic Russian folk tale of the Frog Bride into a one-man performance just right for your little NPR-listening deconstructionist, with jazz violin accompaniment inspired by Prokoviev, art by Kandinsky, video projections and big Jungian themes—all, I am told, chock-full of wit and slapstick. The story is still for little kids after all, and still about a prince who marries an amphibian and learns a lesson about humanity. Gonzalez is acclaimed for his innovative storytelling, which means that this not-the-Disney version will challenge and delight and inspire your smart kid to further embrace the Socratic method on the way home in the car. As usual, thoughtful parents will want to reread the folk tale before the show, just to be prepared.

The Frog Bride at Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-4646; www.thebarclay.org. Sat., 2 & 7 p.m. $15.

 
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