Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of Hatched:: Great Entertainment for Family Audiences

By Alex Greenberg
Whatever it is that makes a baby laugh and clap and smile for forty-five uninterrupted minutes, the Treehouse Shakers have found it. In their inspired production, Hatched, parents and children are invited to sit stage-side and experience a day on the farm. They have the chance to meet, pet, and feed all of the farm's furry friends from a lazy cow to some hungry chicks to a strong-headed rooster. Performed under the direction of Mara McEwin, this show chronicles the life of a newly-hatched chick, eager to explore the world he has awakened to. Along the way, the chick befriends the other veterans of the farm, forging strong relationships with everyone he meets. Through song and dance, the audience gradually joins in this beautiful camaraderie. A simple story of birth, growth, and discovery, this play is interactive and wholly in a child's mind.

Feeding the Baby Birds 
The troupe of actors here are skilled in both their craft and their connection to kids. They can be trusted to electrify the audience and to calm it down, to inspire a family-wide dance and to manage the excitement with a clever, “shushing” choreography. Each actor is a puppeteer, dancer, singer, and animal impersonator. Their personalities are expressive and easy-to-read, keeping the performance simple and captivating for the young’uns. It’s sometimes easy to forget that Hatched is in fact a show and not some family gathering. A day at the zoo with grandpa telling an anecdote from his past and the grandkids crowding around to feed the animals. Siblings helping each other, ringing the cowbell and dipping food into the chicks’ mouths. Even the director is on stage, leading the toddlers by hand around to meet the different animals.
Audience Members meeting Hatched
Hatched is a family production and especially worthwhile for toddlers who have never been to the theater before. The Treehouse Shakers are the only American company to be touring a piece for such young children, and yet the show’s rhythm and ingenuity make it a treat for older audiences as well. Perhaps what stands out most about this performance is the way it reinvents the concept of a stage. The kids are as much the stage as the actors in their costumes or the guitarist on his stool. It’s filled with warmth and a sense of youthful joy. Everyone is together as one, big family. For me, Hatched is the paradigm of entertainment for young people—or at least it ought to be. It has everything going for it and is a sure way to have a fun day with your kids.
Audience Member Meeting Lambie, Photo by Christopher Duggan
Hatched performed at BMCC's Tribeca Performing Arts Center on October 25, 2014. For a full calendar of upcoming performances, or to book Hatched in your community, check out our calendar of upcoming events.

Directed, Written & Conceived by Mara McEwin

Puppets by Patti Gilstrap
Set by Lauren Rockman
Lighting & Stage Management by Dan Ozminkowski
Farmer/Hatch by Miranda Wilson
Farmer/Rooster/Chicks/Cow by Trey Mitchell

Chicks/Cow/Robin/Lamb/Worm by Katie Montoya
Live Music by Anthony Rizzo

Music & Farm Assistance by Mara McEwin

*Performance Photos By Emily Bunning

About Alex Greenberg:

Alex Greenberg is a 15-year old aspiring poet. His work has been published or accepted for publication in over 20 literary journals, such as: Grist, The Cortland Review, Spinning Jenny, Able Muse, and decomP, among others. He was the recipient of the 2014 46er prize from the Adirondack Review and the 2014 Critical Pass Review Junior Poets Prize. Additionally, he is a four-time runner-up in the Cape Farwell Poetry Challenges, a Foyle Young Poet of 2012 and 2013, and a recipient of a gold key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. He loves tennis, ping-pong, and the Zagat food guide. You can find out more about Alex at his website: