Just before Christmas 2015, I signed a contract to play a certain insect off-Broadway for a couple months. And, after Christmas, I did just that.
But…(I should have known)…he was still hungry.
Nearly four years later, I’ve now had the joy of opening The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show a number of times in a few different capacities, most recently as the puppetry director for a brand new production at Chicago Children’s Theatre. Each time I jump back in, I’m reminded there is no better playground than a rehearsal room, watching puppets come to life - slowly, slowly, bit by bit - as we work a moment again and again. In puppetry, there is no life without curiosity, play, and a willingness to fail. That’s a nice thing to remember.
Each time I jump back in, I’m reminded how difficult is to make simple things. The show is beautifully simple, full of quiet moments and big themes. The process of arriving at that simplicity can be a tricky one, though. It calls on everyone in the room to make a big mess, and then - slowly, slowly, bit by bit - clean up and clarify that mess without losing the humor, heart, and joy we found along the way. Sometimes, in the thick of the mess, it’s hard to believe we’ll ever arrive at simplicity, but we always do. It usually looks like a butterfly. That’s a nice thing to remember, too.
So, here’s to the cast, crew, and creative team at CCT, and indeed everyone who is hungry to make a Very Simple Thing. It’s a difficult thing to do.