My son and I went to see the opening of New Kid this afternoon at the Vittum Theater in Chicago. It was brilliantly creative and I couldn’t wait to tell all of you about it. We both really enjoyed it for so many reasons!
Presented by Adventure Stage Chicago and North Park University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, New Kid is about a boy named Nick who moves to the United States with his parents and navigates his way through school and friendship in a new language.
The performance starts with a question for the audience and they asked that we keep that question in mind throughout the show. Our question was two fold: What does it mean to be an outsider? And is being an outsider a choice? What a wonderful idea! It gives the show context and goes deeper beyond just being entertainment.
One of the main reasons I thought it was so wonderful and creative was that the main character, Nick, and his mom are from another country but speak English in the play while the American students at the school speak a gibberish language. In the beginning of the performance you really don’t understand what they are saying. You have to watch their gestures while you try to catch bits and pieces of their words. As the play goes on, you start to comprehend what the gibberish words mean. Genius! We really understood Nick’s perspective and felt personally connected to the situation.
The messages were positive while being entertaining. We were laughing during the show along with sympathizing and learning. My son gained a lot of insight by watching Nick deal with being bullied. He also said he’s going to ignore things that aggravate him and not let it bother him so much. Love it.
Another wonderful aspect of the show was the discussion afterwards. The followup questions that were posed to the audience were engaging and interesting. They returned to the questions from the beginning along with asking others. It was awesome to hear everyone’s observations and so many of the children in the audience were drawing connections between the characters in the play and themselves.
New Kid and the discussion lasts an hour and is best enjoyed by audiences 8 years old and up. There is not inappropriate material for younger children, however the themes and gibberish language interpretation would most likely go over their heads. The pre-show questions and discussion afterwards is translated in Spanish and there are Spanish subtitles on a screen above the stage during the performance. (Cada función presentada con subtítulos en español.)
If you would like to read more about the show, Adventure Stage Chicago offers a Learning Guide with more background on the show and topics presented.
There are three performances left:
Saturday, November 14 at 4pm
Friday, November 20 at 7pm
Saturday, November 21 at 4pm
Neighborhood: $10 (60642 and 60622, by phone or at the door only)
Groups (10+): $12
For school groups, click here.
Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday: 1 hour before show time.
Adventure Stage Chicago
1012 N Noble Street
Chicago, IL 60642
This post brought to you by Adventure Stage Chicago.