Two Perspectives on Seattle Children’s Theatre’s "I Was A Rat!"

Photo By Chris Bennion

Photo By Chris Bennion

Last Friday Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) wrapped up its 2008-09 mainstage season with their 101st world premiere, I Was a Rat!, based on the popular re-worked fairy tale and children’s book by Golden Compass author Philip Pullman.

The story opens with a young pageboy taken in by a childless couple, the aging cobbler Bob and his wife Joan. They give him the name of Roger, as the pageboy says he was formerly a rat and without a name, a tale quirky enough to attract the attention of the Daily Scourge newspaper, a sideshow owner named Professor Tapscrew, and a young ruffian named Billy. The search for Roger’s true home is also accompanied by the story of the newly-married Princess Aurelia, whom Roger claims to have a past with.

My family came along to see the show, with my two children especially excited to watch their first play ever.  Besides, I knew that as much as I hoped to offer people an objective opinion of the performances, what is ultimately important to the success of I Was a Rat! is a show that would be both entertaining and engaging for the little ones.  Although making it a good time for the parents certainly doesn’t hurt their chances either.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to let my children, Evan (6) and Kenzie (5) take the forefront of this review.  Their overall impression of the play was quite obvious as we left the theatre; smiles played across their faces, both extremely happy to have met the cast and get some autographs, especially those of Roger and Aurelia.  I did manage, however, to wrap up the evening by asking them a few pointed questions on the way home.

  • What was your favorite part of the play?

Evan: How Roger ate EVERYTHING. Pencils, paper, and his bed too!  He ate those peppers and was all like “Arrrggghh!!”
Kenzie: The princess.  She was gorrrrgeous.

  • Why do you think Roger keep getting into so much trouble?

Evan: Because he only knew how to be a rat, not a person!
Kenzie: Because they all thought he was a monster!

  • Did you understand the moral of the story [note: we always ask about themes and morals]?

Evan: Being mean is wrong, even to rats.
Kenzie: Yeah, he was so cute! (makes scrunched up rat face)

As for me, I too enjoyed the production.  I’m not sure if it helped or hindered the experience that I had never read or even heard of Pullman’s original story, but I still feel like the SCT did a great job of adapting it for young and old crowds alike.  What I can certainly vouch for is this being an excellent choice for inaugurating the youngest members of your family (age 5 & up though) to the delights of the stage.  With good pacing, many diversely-played characters, and lots of laughs throughout, it’s now apparent to me why the Seattle Children’s Theatre has been a mainstay in the Seattle arts community for over 30 years.

I Was a Rat! was adapted for the SCT stage by Barbara Field, and directed by SCT Artistic Associate Rita Giomi, and runs through June 7, 2009.  Tickets and further info available at the SCT website.

2 Comments so far

  1. wesa on May 6th, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

    I love how you included the responses from your kids. Nice touch.


  2. The Golden Compass | “I Was a Rat” at Seattle Childrens Theatre | His Dark Materials | BridgeToTheStars.Net (pingback) on May 8th, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    […] Posted by Kinders on May 9, 2009 at 2:21 am Last Friday Seattle Children’s Theatre wrapped up its 2008-09 mainstage season with their 101st world premiere, I Was a Rat!, based on the popular re-worked fairy tale and children’s book by Philip Pullman. Jay at Seattle Metblogs allows his children Evan )6_ and Kenzie (5) to take charge of his review of the production. […]



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