What does it feel like to be a clock? An airplane? A balloon?
"Becky-the-Wrecker," at the Galaxy Theatre, gives kids (ages 5 to 9) a chance to find out.
Sophia Lansky and director Leon Weinstein have brought their Adrabah Educational Theatre from Tel Aviv, Israel (where it was founded in 1979), and prove that this lively performance project for children has international appeal.
Becky (Lansky) is a mean little girl who's a champion toy-destroyer. Her mom and dad are no help; they give her whatever she wants. Something has to be done, but what?
Within this simple framework, children in the audience play a major role.
There are no costumes or sets; there is no music. But there is a stage, and it's an accessible one. Lansky and fellow performer Donald Moore don't make a big deal about getting the kids involved, they don't coax or intimidate with boisterous good will.
Instead, they have a matter-of-fact attitude toward their make-believe that seems as natural as a child's own, making it comfortable for kids to participate.
When Becky breaks her prize wooden soldier, her father agrees that she can buy a new toy the next day. She goes to bed, triumphant.
The midnight hour strikes with the help of "theatrical" cuckoo clocks (kids in the audience), and Becky's toys (children--and a few surprised parents) come to life. They plot with the wooden soldier to teach her a lesson.
The next day at the toy store, each toy that Becky chooses (all played by audience members) suddenly turns into something scary, until Becky realizes that no toy wants to play with her. She asks the audience what she should do.
The advice is direct and to the point. "Be gentle." "Don't yell." "Say you're sorry." And, with down-to-earth logic: "Stop smashing 'em."
Becky apologizes to her toys, asking her young audience for approval: "That's good?"
It is good, and so is this participatory play, where simplicity is the key. "Becky-the-Wrecker" only lasts an hour--it could easily run longer and still hold its audience.
The performance plays indefinitely at 5421 Santa Monica Blvd., every other weekend at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The next performances will be Feb. 16-17 (650-4576).