Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Great "Faery" Hunt

Okay, it was blisteringly hot today, and wild fires were raging.

Nevertheless, it was the summer's last scheduled show in Griffith Park of A FAERY HUNT (before it moves to venues a bit farther afield), so I drove clear across L.A. and up through Koreatown, into Los Feliz, and finally to Fern Dell, to take Thing 1 and Thing 2 to look for fairies.

Thing 2 insisted on going in costume, but that was no problem, thanks to a hand-me-down fairy outfit (thank you, Julia -- a going-into-third-grade, big girl friend who keeps Thing 2 in wonderful outfits). Thing 2 kept telling her brother the faery hunt was for girls, despite my continual attempts to dispel this notion. (Sure enough, there were boys in attendance, though Thing 2 later pointed out, "it was MOSTLY girls").

The "hunt" was really an interactive play with several stops along the way, guided by actors and actresses and even kid actors, in fairy and troll attire, and a couple of fairy "guides." The play had a plot of sorts, just enough for my kids to kinda/sorta follow (they were so busy looking at the costumes and face paint on the actors, they missed a few plot beats). And the actors were sufficiently convincing to the kids that Thing 2 asked me if the fairies lived in the park, though later she asked, "Were they real fairies, or dress-up fairies?"

Much of the fun for the adults was looking at the many, many, many kids in fairy wings and fairy dresses, who got into the show and participated whenever asked. One kid, whose face had been painted half-blue/half-red at a birthday party (the Faery Hunt being the party's main activity), was eager to volunteer or shout out observations, and was quickly nicknamed "Braveheart" by the clownish actor playing one of the trolls.

My kids were at times enthralled, at times terrified even though nothing scary happened at all, save for a character who was costumed in a bird-like mask that for some reason frightened them on first sight. They didn't quite get the jokes, and there were moments when there was too much dust on the trail for all of us, especially since the group attending was so big. But as soon as it was over, they both asked if they could come again -- so clearly this outing was a hit.

Still, an hour-plus in the heat (if in shady groves) and air that, though it didn't smell smoky, was no doubt heavier than usual with particulate matter, was quite enough. Soon it was off to the air-conditioned comfort of House of Pies, where the promise of pies awaited.

Alas, the pie promise went unfulfilled, as the kids soon filled up on lemonade and left most of their kiddie meals on the table, after a few meager bites. Still, they rallied and began to play with the magic wands I'd sprung for at the Faery Hunt.

Our afternoon plans were soon scotched by the spreading smoke from the fires, so westward ho we came, back to air conditioning and the relatively less hot, less smokey west side of town, memories of fairies dancing in all of our heads. Note to Tinkerbell: I do believe in fairies ... or at least in the power of make-believe fairies to enchant four-and-a-half year-olds, even on a hot and smoky day in Southern California.

No comments: