My shows, even the ones for the littlest children, are colored with surrealism. I just pretend like whatever is happening is perfectly normal, and the kids just go with it, which is often hilarious for teachers and parents.
In the show I’ve been doing the past few days, a winter-themed music & puppet show for toddlers, we’re helping the three little kittens find their lost mittens. We find a pair on the farm, a pair on the mountain, but cannot find the third. Suddenly, we hear a phone ringing.
I politely excuse myself, pick up a banana, and start talking into it like it’s my phone.
As I’m talking, I’m covering the “mouthpiece” of the banana and doing asides to the audience, explaining that it’s my friend, Peter Penguin calling from the South Pole. He found a pair of mittens, but they’re frozen in the ice.
In five out of six performances so far, only one child commented that I was talking on a banana. But in the sixth show today, the kids were raptly attentive to my phone call when, from the middle of the group, a 3 year old girl started giggling.
She leaned over to her friend and loudly whispered, “He’s talking on a banana.” Her friend started giggling.
She pointed and said, “He’s talking on a BANANA!”
And suddenly everyone got the joke. The room erupted into giggles for about 30 seconds as I continued chatting with my friend, Peter Penguin. Totally serious, like nothing unusual was going on. I finished my call and hung up my banana.
Nothing in the world compares to a room full of 3 year olds uncontrollably giggling.
At the end of the show, I wrapped it up, we did a “big clap”, and I took my bow. A boy immediately jumped up, thrusting his hand into the air. He looked at me, then his teacher.
“Um… um… can we do that again?!!”