Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘AJIJAAK ON TURTLE ISLAND’ at the New Victory Theater (March 1, 7 p.m.; March 2, 2 p.m.; March 3, noon and 5 p.m.; through March 10). Like many protagonists of timeless stories, Ajijaak is young, alone and facing an arduous journey. But she’s also unusual: She isn’t human. A whooping crane who has been separated from her parents by a forest fire, Ajijaak (pronounced Ah-JEE-jock) must make her first migration from the north to the south of Turtle Island — North America — with only a medicine bundle (a collection of sacred objects) to guide her. Presented by IBEX Puppetry and based on storyboards created by Heather Henson, one of Jim Henson’s daughters, this production uses puppets, video projections, kites and indigenous song and dance to relate a Native American fable about the interdependence of all life. Ty Defoe, who wrote the show and collaborated on its original music with Dawn Avery, Kevin Tarrant and Larry Mitchell, works with Henson to illuminate not only ancient mythology but also contemporary environmental concerns. The whooping crane is an endangered species, and Ajijaak has to find her way in an increasingly dangerous world.
‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ at the Town School (March 2, 2 and 4 p.m.). In this lively dance-theater production, the Victorian Alice goes down the rabbit hole to a Wonderland that is even weirder than the one Lewis Carroll conjured: contemporary New York City. Presented by Spark Movement Collective, this version of the story introduces her to bustling tourists, the subway, a flood of iPhones and, instead of the Mad Hatter’s party, a bunch of tea-drinking street vendors. According to the company’s website, the show illustrates that normality is relative, something New Yorkers can easily agree with.
‘CIRCUS INCOGNITUS’ at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center (March 2, 2 p.m.). Most performers would prefer that audiences not hurl objects at them, but Jamie Adkins doesn’t just accept this, he actively encourages it. In this case, the missiles are lemons, which Adkins expects spectators to toss so he can catch them — on a fork clenched between his teeth. That’s not the only feat that he offers in this solo show, presented by the Brooklyn theater series On Stage at Kingsborough. Portraying a hapless, Chaplinesque sort of character, he also copes with a ladder that falls apart (while he’s on it), a problematic slack wire and multiple props to juggle (in all senses of the verb).
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
FIRST SATURDAYS FOR FAMILIES: INTERTWINED FORMS at the New Museum (March 2, 10 a.m.-noon). What can you do with scraps? Quite a bit, if you’re an artist. Witness the work of Jeffrey Gibson, whose show at the New Museum, “The Anthropophagic Effect,” incorporates references to contemporary painting and pattern while also paying homage to the woven work Native Americans have made from materials like river cane and porcupine quills. In this free program for ages 4 to 12 — space is first come first served — children will investigate the clothing and helmets Gibson has created, which draw on his Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, and then use components like paper, pipe cleaners, fabric strips, yarn and branches to make their own designs and baskets.
HERSTORY DAY at the Museum of the City of New York (March 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). This event isn’t just about “herstory”; it’s also about your story. An intergenerational tribute to Women’s History Month, the program will include book-making and poetry-writing drop-in workshops, as well as a pop-up installation of the Free Black Women’s Library, a collection of books written by black women. Ola Ronke Akinmowo, the library’s founder, will talk about her work at 11:15 a.m. Starting at noon, families can use yarn and ribbon to bind together information sheets about women represented in the museum’s shows and collection and then go on a scavenger hunt to find those figures in the galleries. They can also write verse about these women’s experiences as well as their own.
‘THE SOUND OF MUSIC’ at Nitehawk Prospect Park (March 2-3, 10 a.m.). Yes, the hills are alive, and this corner of Brooklyn, too, as Nitehawk Cinema brings an old-fashioned classic to the screen. Robert Wise’s 1965 film has no computer-generated imagery or special effects — just a great Rodgers and Hammerstein score, an utterly wholesome story and Julie Andrews’s luminous performance as Maria, the young governess to the von Trapp family. Tell your kids that it won five Academy Awards, including best picture. And since Nitehawk serves real food, you can also have brunch at the movies.
TILT KIDS FESTIVAL at various locations (March 2-31). Creativity sometimes calls for upending tradition, which you will certainly see at this aptly named event. Presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Institute Alliance Française, Tilt flouts convention as it exposes young minds to cutting-edge international performances. This year’s festival kicks off this weekend with celebrations of gender fluidity, including a drag queen story hour and Johanny Bert and Magali Mougel’s “She No Princess, He No Hero,” a play whose central characters, Leïli and Nils, aren’t interested in adopting typical masculine and feminine roles. It also offers Olivier Py’s “The Young Girl, the Devil and the Mill,” a theater piece based on the Grimm fairy tale “The Girl Without Hands.” Involving a bargain with Satan and its horrifying consequences, the original story is not the type you’ll find Disney adapting. But Py has made it into a musical about the steadfast heroine’s adventure. (A full schedule is on the website.)
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