Review of Wiley and the Hairy Man by Stage One


My daughter and I had the privilege of going on a girl’s night out this week. We went downtown to the Kentucky Center for the Arts to enjoy a weeknight showing of Stage One’s Wiley and the Hairy Man. It was a rainy Monday afternoon, rush from school and violin lesson, get homework done, and get downtown kind of night. But it was so worth it! I try to do a date night with my girl at least once a month these days, and thanks to Louisville Family Fun and Fund for the Arts, we had a blast!

The show that we saw was an educator’s prescreening night. During the introduction we learned that that evening’s performance was a world premiere and that we were the first audience to experience it! My daughter thought that was amazing!

The play started promptly at 7pm in the Bomhard Theater. The opening scene is of the boy named Wiley who is having a bad dream about the Hairy Man coming to get him. The theater is very dark and eerie music is playing; it’s really a catchy way to start the show. My daughter and I really liked the beginning. We found the whole show to be very entertaining. We were immediately drawn into the plot and the solutions that Wiley had to come up with to face his fears about the Hairy Man. I think ours and the audience’s favorite character might have been Wiley’s hound dog! There are a few songs throughout the performance which were very well executed. The dialogue is very whimsical, lyrical, and rhythmic which helped to keep everyone amused. The mimes who became the woods, quicksand, logs, and sticker bushes of the forest brought a neat visual to the eye as well.

It is a great teaching tool in that the play is written as a trickster tale, so you can tie in folklore and folktales like Aesop’s fables and Anansi with your children upon watching it. When we got home, I asked my daughter to summarize in a few sentences what she thought of it. I thought it would be a good way to connect with writing that she is focusing so much on in school right now. She wrote “I think some scenes in Wiley and the Hairy Man would probably be a little scary for some kids. I wasn’t scared, maybe a little shaken at first but not at the end. I hope I see something like that again.”

There were lots of teachers, parents, adults, and kids in the audience. It was a perfect show for my daughter who is in fourth grade. I would recommend the show for kids 5 and up. It was a little scary in the beginning. Even as we were leaving we ran into two teachers in the elevator who asked my daughter if she liked it and whether she thought it was scary or not. She said she did not think it was scary. They both said in their opinions that it might be a little too frightening for kindergartners. I agreed with them. That’s not to say that a four or five year old shouldn’t go see the play. It’s just a good idea to be forewarned that it might startle a few younger kids. It does have a recommendation for children ages 4 and up.

We were very grateful to have had the opportunity to see this show and spend a great night in downtown Louisville! There are two weekend dates for public performances: October 13 and 20 at 11am and 2pm. There are also student matinee performances available for school groups. Prices for this show can be found here.
By guest contributor: Erin

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