In a small way, seeing the new bilingual play Cenicienta/Cinderella will prepare kids for going to the opera. English-speaking children are probably not used to hearing another language at a play, and seeing (and hearing) a familiar tale in another language may open them up to listening to, or even learning, another language. But such grandiloquent plans are not what most parents have in mind for a Saturday afternoon. Cenicienta/Cinderella, delivered on a more basic level, offers just plain fun for city families. The show, presented by the Society of the Educational Arts (SEA), or Sociedad Educativa de Las Artes, gives a unique spin to its productions, and not just because they are presented in two languages. Cenicienta/Cinderella, which played last month, featured a dwarf who was confused that he was in a play without a dwarf, so he became the fairy godfather. SEA productions, which are geared toward Spanish- or English-speaking audiences and bilingual children and parents, fairly seamlessly incorporate both languages. For example, when Cinderella reads the invitation to the ball, the stepmother says she can’t understand her, and asks her to please read it again. She rereads the invite in English. Songs had verses in first one language, then the other. There were some jokes that were not translated from Spanish to English, and vice versa, but since the story is so familiar, and the physical comedy is so broad, even the youngest children could follow. SEA is also committed to empowering children, so its shows, under the artistic direction of Manuel Antonio Moran, have a specific educational agenda. Cinderella is a voracious reader, and the fact that the play comes from a book is driven home by the large book on-stage, which houses the various backdrops. And although Cinderella is obviously taken advantage of, she does stand up for herself in the end (even before trying on the red sparkly shoe she left at the ball), noting that she always treated her stepmother and step-sisters with respect, even when they were so mean to her. The show was written, directed and produced by Moran, who also wrote the original music. During the show, the actor occasionally appealed directly to the kids in the audience, inviting their interaction. After the show, cast members mingle with the audience. SEA, which began in Puerto Rico in 1985 and opened a New York base in 1993, presents its shows at Los Kabayitos Puppet & Children's Theatre. Next up is The Three Little Pigs, April 5, 12 and 26, at 3pm.
Info: Where: SEA at Los Kabayitos Puppet & Children's Theatre at 107 Suffolk St., 2nd Floor Getting there: F train to Delancey St. or J, M, Z to Essex St. Tickets: $11 adults; $9 children. Note: Credit cards are accepted for payment, with a $1.50 surcharge For reservations: (212) 260-4080, ext.14 For more info: www.sea-ny.org