by Guest Blogger Maytal Wichman
Everyone knows that when you have kids, taking some time off to do something for yourself can actually be a good thing, both for you and your child. But what if you can do both – spend some time alone, just you, and at the same time have your child play, dance, sing and have fun without you? Can it be possible? And for a reasonable fee?
Playtime! is the perfect solution for what you need. It’s babysitting services while you see an off-Broadway show. Here’s how it works: you pick a show from a specific date, and for a specific theater. Drop off your child at a place very close to the theater, and then go enjoy the show. At the end of your show you pick her up. Very simple. Very affordable and, most importantly, very enjoyable for both you and your child.
I recently got to experience a fantastic off-Broadway play, called The Hurt Village (more on that later) while my daughter had a blast with the Playtime babysitting services. I picked her up after my show (it was a 5-minute walk from my theater). Not only did I get a happy child in return, I also got a list of all her activities, what she enjoyed most, what she ate, etc. She herself said she had fun and asked if she could come back tomorrow…
The Playtime! program has a theme that changes periodically. Today’s was “pirates”. Other themes in the past included “safari” and “around the world”. Some of the activities were pirate-related crafts, such as making an eye patch, singing pirate songs, dancing and theater games. There were also snacks, such as string cheese, goldfish, fruit and juice, at no extra cost.
Here are the details: Playtime! is available for children ages 4-12, for parents who are watching a specific show from an available list. The cost is $15 per child, for the entire duration of the show. All you have to do is drop off your child a little bit before your show and pick her up when it’s over. The program is run by Sitters Studio and the sitters are working artists.
For a calendar of Playtime! Services and shows: http://playtimenyc.org/calendar.asp
As I mentioned before, the play I saw while my daughter was at Playtime! Was Katori Hall’s “Hurt Village”. Set sometime in the 2000’s, the show focuses on residents of Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, and their struggles with drugs, physical and verbal abuse, and just making it on a day-to-day basis. However, there were definitely some optimistic moments which helped lift the spirits, if only for a short while. The play is a collage of sights and sounds, from the very detailed and elaborate stage décor, to the music. The characters seemed so real, I found it hard to believe that at the end of the show the actors dress in their normal clothes and go home, and not to some beat-up house in the projects. They all, with no exception, truly melted into their characters. The theater itself was very unique in that the stage is at the center and the seats are on both sides, so virtually every seat in the house has a great view.
Another play in the program is Edward Albee’s “The Lady from Dubuque”. This beautifully-acted play, starring Jane Alexander, is about a few couples gathered for a late night of drinks and games. They play “20 questions” until things get a little sour. Later an unexpected guest arrives and the game “20 questions” continues, but with a very different outcome. Almost right away the characters turn to speak to the audience, which I thought was both fascinating to watch, as well as helpful in terms of understanding the characters’ innermost thoughts.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to watch off-Broadway shows and have my daughter play, get creative and have fun! I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the arts while exposing your children to the arts at the same time, and at a cost of $15! It’s the quintessential win-win situation.
For more information about Playtime! please visit http://playtimenyc.org/index.asp
For more information on “Hurt Village” and “The Lady from Dubuque” please visit http://www.signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/index.aspx
I was not paid for this post. I did receive a session for my daughter at Playtime! and tickets to watch the plays.
Guest Blogger Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Healthy Bites and also writes for Long Island Mamas. Maytal has been living in New York City for eleven years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but writing about nutrition and helping families eat better is her true passion. She grew up in both California and Israel, which explains her love for California cuisine (fresh, local ingredients), as well as Mediterranean food (flavorful, heart-healthy ingredients). Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to two kids (ages 5 & 2) and works hard to ensure they eat healthy, unprocessed food, while trying to make it as delicious as possible. Married to a vegetarian and being a pescetarian herself, this can be quite a challenge. On an ordinary night at her dinner table, you can hear things like “More cauliflower, please!”, “How come I didn’t get a lot of tomato?” and “Fish oil! Yaaaay!”.