Published on July 19th, 2012 | by Shellie Ward


The Emperor and the Nightingale


In a quaint theater at Oglethorpe University, the girls and I had the pleasure of watching the play The Emperor and the Nightingale.  The play was adapted from the story by Hans Christian Andersen.  The story takes place in ancient China during the Chinese New Year. We had no idea what to expect. Taking a 3 year old  anywhere, and expect for her to sit for more than 30 minutes always have me on heighten alert.

As the lights dimmed, and the music began, I said a little prayer in the hopes that we would make it through the entire play.  Ten minutes into the play, I heard Harley (3) cracking up hysterically, to the point where other adults looked back to see where the little voice was coming from. As a parent, watching my kids enjoying themselves automatically makes it worth it, but this play had me captured as well.

The play was not only fun to watch, but was interactive with singing, we learned how to properly bow to the emperor, and when to bow, and how to speak a little Chinese!  The production was visually stimulating with alluring costuming. There was a dragon dancing through the crowd, and music was excellent!  The cast was culturally diverse and very talented. The Imperial Choir, 5 marionette puppets operated by one actor, stole the show. Talk about versatility! Each choir member had distinct personalities that interacted with one another, and both children and adults were thoroughly entertained!

After the performance, we got to meet the cast.  There was a crowd around Caleb Clark, the actor that played the Imperial Choir. When we finally were able to meet him, I asked the girls to take a picture with him.  Harley immediately ran behind my leg and refused.  Haven reluctantly went over, and bravely posed with Caleb and the Imperial Choir.

Part of great parenting is exposing your children to the arts.  This production of the Emperor and the Nightingale is an awesome and fun way to introduce young audiences to a classic tale.

The stuff you need to know before you go…..

  • Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 17 and July 24 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, July 21 and July 28 at 1 p.m 
  • General admission is $13.00
  • Children are encouraged to come.
  • Ensure kids are fed before the show; this will help keep them engaged.
  • Use the restroom before the show.
  • The show is interactive.
  • There are a few books of the children’s version, read your kids the story, before and/or after the play.  Reading the book gives you an appreciation of the story, and watching it come alive is great for your kids to see.


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