Bumbershoot Picks

Are We Scared? and STREB.

Are We Scared?

A remount from 2004, this show is the end result of a school-year-long collaboration between the talented troupe at Open Circle Theater and a group of young (ages 2 to 5) students at Sweet Pea Preschool of the Performing Arts. The material, conceived and written entirely by the aspiring tykes, is geared toward adult audiences, with the actors playing a big role in adapting the work. The stories themselves reveal all the obsessions of childhood, with dinosaurs, dragons, superpowers and chocolate providing a thematic pathway through the various episodes. Things unspool this way and that, allowing the stories to exist on their own terms—the action is neither too constrained nor too chaotic. Rather, it blossoms according to its own interests and whims, yet always with a feeling for performance. One of the true joys of this production is having one's eyes re-opened to the sense of wonder and playfulness that suffuses simply everything in a child's life. The experiment could have gone all kinds of wrong—too goofy, too twee, too precious. Forget it: It's an unqualified delight. Like childhood itself, it abounds with mystery and sweet absurdity, a giddy inquisitiveness, hilarity, and wandering phantasmagoria. In a word, magic. Theatre Puget Sound Stage, Seattle Center House, 206-628-0888 or www.bumbershoot.com for full schedule and ticket info. $5-$18 day pass; $30 two-day pass; $55 four-day pass; $160-$260 VIP Access. 5 p.m. Sun. Sept. 4. RICHARD MORIN


Elizabeth Streb has spent most of her career stripping away conventional ideas of grace and beauty to reveal the elegance and violence of pure mechanics. Whether strapped into Rube Goldberg-esque machinery or moving on their own, her performers enact the laws of physics writ large. Slamming into walls, crashing onto the floor, knocking each other over like dominoes, they are humans impersonating superheroes, without the relief of CGI effects. Bagley Wright Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-628-0888 or www.bumbershoot.org for full schedule and ticket info. $5-$18 day pass; $30 two-day pass; $55 four-day pass; $160-$260 VIP Access. 8 p.m. Sat. Sept 3; 1:30 p.m. Sun. Sept. 4; 5:45 p.m. Mon. Sept. 5. SANDRA KURTZ

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