Let’s face it – motherhood is not easy. For the first four months of my daughter’s birth, I felt like I was on a runaway train and it was only going to lead to disaster. Now that my daughter is on the cusp of turning 3 years old (!), I don’t know if I would say it’s gotten easier. I would say, I am more prepared for the role of motherhood and I have realized, yes, my life is never going to be the same and thank goodness for that because I am a mother to my daughter who doesn’t sleep all the hours I would love her to so I worry if she’s getting enough sleep, who loves to dance and jump, who grabs my hand when she wants to hold it, who nuzzles next to me and tells me to listen to her heartbeat – I told her that’s how I first heard her – when I went to the doctor’s to confirm my pregnancy and I knew I was going to become a mom for real. I wouldn’t trade these past three years for any of my pre-motherhood years because I have never felt so much love for someone. (My husband knows this and understands.)

When I first heard about Geffen Playhouse’s upcoming production of In Mother Words, I said – that show I must see – even if that means spending some time away from my daughter. (Yes, yes, me time is incredibly important and like most moms, I hardly get much Me Time.) In Mother Words is written by many of the leading American playwrights of our generation who are either mothers or write about their experiences with their mothers and acted by mothers, including Jane Kaczmarek, of T.V.’s Malcolm In The Middle. Playwrights include: Pulitzer Award winner Beth Henley, Peabody Award winner Theresa Rebeck and two-time Steinberg/ATCA New Play award finalist Michele Lowe. In Mother Words is directed by Lisa Peterson. (My friend was directed in a show by Lisa Peterson and only has wonderful words for her as a director and my friend is tough on her directors.)

I am so excited that the Geffen Playhouse has graciously offered 2 giveaway tickets to see In Mother Words. You may pick any performance from February 15 to February 22nd. Please enter by making a comment. You may enter one more time by checking out the Geffen Playhouse’s website: http://geffenplayhouse.com and posting an additional comment.

The giveaway ends on midnight, February 10th and Mishy will draw out the name of the lucky winner.

If, like me, you are extremely excited about the show and would rather purchase tickets to get the best seats possible, the Geffen Playhouse has offered readers of my blog – Traveling Natural Momma an opportunity to see In Mother Words for the special rate of $40 (regularly priced tickets for this week are $57).  This offer is valid for performances from February 15 to February 22, based upon availability. Simply use the code TNM40MOM online at www.geffenplayhouse.com or when calling the box office at 310-208-5454.

Please don’t wait for this chance to laugh, cry, experience the joys, terrors, and heart opening moments of being a mother all over again.

Want to enter to win more giveaways? Click on the Giveaway tab on the right side!

UPDATE: Congratulations, Lesa! You’ve won the tickets!

Today, Mishy and I attended an extremely fun and silly show by Jumbo Shrimp Circus. It surprised me how much I enjoyed it because it isn’t the kind of theatre I tend to enjoy – it isn’t high brow, or philosophical, or emotional or intellectual – it’s fun and silly and you leave the theatre with a bit more practical knowledge of how to become a clown – through practice and start juggling with scarves!

When you enter the theatre, you are greeted by Epoxie, who is cleaning the stage. He is a friendly, slightly melancholy clown who welcomes you, asks your name and lets you know, you can do whatever you like during the show – you can leave, you can walk on stage, you can eat popcorn – which they sell in the lobby and Mishy goggled up – you and your child are free to enjoy yourself and not be restricted. Epoxie isn’t a particularly a talented clown. I think that’s part of his charm. (Philip Briggs, who plays Epoxie performed at Barnum and Bailey Circus.) His lack of “ability” tells the audience it’s fine to make mistakes and I love that message.

The show is completely interactive – audience members are free to sit on stage – which we did, participate in some of the clowning – which everyone did and enjoy in the mayhem. My daughter spinned a plate on a stick today! (I wish I brought a camera.)

Jumbo Shrimp Circus has only two performances left – Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 and Friday, January 28th, 2011 – both shows are at 10:30AM. This show is geared for preschoolers and adults who want to play like preschoolers. The show is one hour long and the time goes by quickly.

To buy tickets, here is the link:

http://events.dailynews.com/los-angeles-ca/events/show/156007005-the-jumbo-shrimp-circus-toddler-theatre

Mishy watching the "waterfall" outside the Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine

Mishy and I went to see L.A. Opera’s production of Who Wants To Be An Opera Singer by Mark Saltzman. This performance was at Pepperdine Performing Arts Center in their Smothers Theatre. We received tickets through their Arts Education program which offers tickets to under privileged schools in the Los Angeles area. Once local schools have responded for ticket requests, remaining tickets are given to the homeschooling community and we are lucky to be part of several homeschooling communities. This program is sponsored by US Bank.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this show because there are many things I enjoy in life and opera is one of them. I love the passion, the costumes, the drama and the singing. The beauty of the human voice really presents themselves in opera since opera is an extended dramatic composition in which all words are sung together. I felt this show would be a perfect opportunity to introduce live opera to Mishy since it is aimed for all ages. She has been listening to opera at home and in the car and when we play it, she listens intently. I also want her to be surrounded by languages – to hear the wonder and power of words in different cultural contexts – and understand the different ways of expressing them.

Who Wants To be An Opera Singer is set up as a game show where three contestants are “selected” from the audience. It introduces the contestants and hosts by their different vocal range  – soprano, mezzo soprano, tenor, and baritone and mentions the vocal range – bass. While the contestants are playing, they are also singing. The first song was an excerpt of Madame Butterfly, one of Butterfly’s arias – an aria is a solo – for those new to opera. When the contestant who was playing Butterfly in her minimal costume, started to sing, my daughter perked up, listened intently and watched in amazement. There is nothing that replaces the impact of seeing theatre live. We were privy to excerpts from Carmen, La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, and Madama Butterfly, while learning about opera. Mishy clapped and yelled, “Bravo! Bravo!” throughout the show – which is encouraged. Afterwards, we sang opera together – as best we could.

There will be a public performance of Who Wants To Be An Opera Singer on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 at the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are $15. There is an art workshop at 10AM and the performance is at 11AM. For more information and to buy tickets, here is the link:

http://www.laopera.com/educom/programs.aspx

Update: I’ve just  been given two tickets to giveaway for the upcoming show of Who Wants To Be An Opera Singer on Feb. 5th at the Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center. Please leave a comment by midnight, February 1st for your chance to win. You will earn an extra entry if you click onto their link and comment that you have.

www.laopera.com

Good luck!

Update: Congratulations, Tania! You’ve won the 2 giveaway tickets see Who Wants To Be An Opera Singer!

I just got off the phone with Ramona, Director of Educational Programs at Field Trips 4 Kids, and she’s given me 2 tickets to giveaway for their 12Noon show of New Shanghai Circus on Friday, January 28th. All shows are presented at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard at Dallas Drive Thousand Oaks, California (Map).

Back by Popular Demand!

New Shanghai Circus

Presented by Community Educational Entertainment, Inc.

Two Shows: Friday, January 28, 2011 at 10AM and 12:00Noon

Tickets: $10 for groups of 15 or more, $14 for individuals

Appropriate for all ages. The show runs 1 hour and there is free parking.

For more than twenty-seven centuries Shanghai Acrobats have been thrilling audiences, making it the “longest running” folk art form in history. In China, acrobats are revered in much the same way ballerinas and opera singers are in the West. The Shanghai Acrobats represent the best of this honored tradition, mixing award winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes and ancient and contemporary theatrical techniques to present a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty.

Study guide available (.pdf format)

Order your tickets

Visit them on Facebook and like them:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001758444645

http://fieldtrips4kids.com/

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment! If you like them on Facebook, leave another comment and you will have an additional entry. If you visit their website, leave another comment and you will gain one more entry. Good luck. The contest closes on midnight, January 21st, 2011.

Congratulations, Clara! I’ve emailed you to let you know the won the pair of tickets.

This Saturday, we went to see Circus INcognitus at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Circus INcognitus is the brainchild of Jamie Adkins, a native Californian who now makes his home in Montreal with his wife and infant daughter. His wife, Amanda Russell, is his production director. She carries their daughter in an Ergo and the three of them travel together, presenting the show at various places around the world.

He is a clown who juggles, tight rope walks, performs magic, and makes people laugh by his ingenuity. With simple props, such as a chair, a cardboard box, a sheet of paper, some rope, two forks, two grapes, oranges, a melon, and a ladder, he creates an incredibly entertaining 50 minutes of delight, wonder, and fun. It’s a great show to laugh – just laugh while watching – which is an amazing stress reliever and keeps our brains flexible. (No wonder during the Great Depression, escapist comedies and animation movies were number one at the box office.)

After the show, Mr. Adkins participates in a relaxed question and answer period where his most common answer was – practice. How did you learn how to juggle? Practice. How did you learn how to catch certain props with your mouth? Practice. How did you learn to balance? Practice. It’s such an honest answer. (I’ve read from several sources that it takes 1000 hours of practice before you become a master.) He also mentioned the importance of having a mentor when it came to performing some of the more difficult acrobatics of his show – to do things safely. My husband wanted to ask him if he’s broken any bones in his body, but another audience member asked first. Yes, he sprained his ankle and broke a bone on his foot. How? He slipped on a grape and on some cold days, he still feels it. He talked very openly about his experience as a young man who learned how to juggle at 13 years of age and did his first sommersault at the age of 22. At 40 years of age, he defeats the common idea of acrobats retiring at 30 – truly inspirational – do what you love, with care and practice and you can continue to do it for as long as you want.

This show is appropriate for all ages. There is a short talk before the show, the show is 50 minutes long, and the talk back is 20 minutes long. Mishy sat in the theatre for 1.5 hours – her first time seeing a full production.

After the show, being inspired, she tried to walk all over the restaurant we ate at. (We stopped in across the street at Mezza – which offers 10% to theatre patrons – just present your ticket stub. It’s mediterranean food and delicious.)

Details:

Circus INcognitus at the Kirk Douglas Theatre for a very limited run,

January 15th at 11AM & 3PM; January 16th at 3PM, January 22 at 11AM & 3PM; January 23 at 3PM

All tickets $20. $10 for KDT members.

http://www.centertheatregroup.org:80/tickets/productiondetail.aspx?id=14329

Jumbo Shrimp Circus

January 11, 2011

The Jumbo Shrimp Circus are back! Well, they’ve never been away. They’ve been busy performing locally, nationally, and international. Now they have landed at the Two Roads Theatre for a limited run of their fantastically fun show which is friendly for children, adults, and communities – in fact their motto is that they are committed to bringing adults, children, and communities together for laughter!

The Jumbo Shrimp Circus are Heide and Philip Briggs – two professional clowns – and parents to two boys! They met over ten years ago at Ringling Brothers and Barnum Circus and another motto of theirs is to have fun!

They will be performing at the Two Roads Theatre for a limited run starting January 17th until January 28th, 2011. Shows are at 10:30AM and run approximately 60 minutes. These shows are perfect for preschoolers and elementary aged children so start booking before they sell out their run!

Here is more about their show from their press release:

“Jumbo Shrimp Circus presents The Magical and Joyful Spectacle of Epoxie, a morning’s delight for young children and their caregivers.  A show filled with juggling, uni-cycling, plate spinning, and overall silliness, each morning show delivers a theatrical playground and an educational experience and that toddlers and pre-schoolers will enjoy and remember.  Bring your ticket on the day of the show to Caioti, The Gelato Bar, Rock a Buy Baby and Bare Sole in Studio City for special discounts. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, CA 91604.  January 17 – January 28, 2011, M-W & F. 10:30am. Tickets on sale at http://www.jumboshrimpcircus.com/boxoffice.  Preschools are welcome with special group rates. $10 for children, $12 for adults. $8 per child for school groups or groups of 10 or more people.”

In celebration of this exciting show, I have been given two tickets to giveaway. Please email me at: naturaltravelingmomma@gmail.com – your name, date of show you would like to attend, and number of people in your party – maximum number is 2 by midnight, January 12th . Mishy will draw out the name on Thursday morning.

More details:

Jumbo Shrimp Circus

Two Roads Theatre

4348 Tujunga Avenue, CA(818) 762-2272 ‎

http://www.jumboshrimpcircus.com/

http://www.jumboshrimpcircus.com/stuffwevedone.html

Update: The winner of the giveaway is Karla! Congratulations.

In Mother Words

January 1, 2011

I’m putting an early word out for a very exciting theatrical event which will be starting previews on Feb. 15th and opening on Feb. 23rd for a limited run.

In Mother Words – a theatre piece written by – Leslie Ayvazian, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Lisa Ramirez, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman & Cheryl L.

These playwrights are some of contemporary theater’s most talented voices, tackling the universal subject of motherhood. It promises to be an eye-opening, hilarious and irresistible night of theater. They will be sharing personal joys, absurdities and unflinching honesty about mothers to give voice to moms and children of all ages, races and even sexes. Whether you are a parent, have a parent or ever want to become a parent, this play promises to elate and terrify, equally — much like motherhood itself.

In Mother Words Conceived by Susan Rose & Joan Stein Written by Leslie Ayvazian,
David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Lisa Loomer, Michele
Lowe, Marco Pennette, Lisa Ramirez, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman &
Cheryl L. West Directed by Lisa Peterson Run: February 15 – May 1, 2011 Opening
Night: February 23, 2011

Running at the Geffen Theatre. For more information and tickets:

http://geffenplayhouse.com/more_info.php?show_id=71