This weekend in Boulder, a unique kind of theater will hit the stage: The Peanut Butter Players' new musical farce Bratrace is not exactly children's theater, but it's truly family theater, the term used by writer/director Jo Anne Lamun to describe the intergenerational entertainment experiment, a kid-sized satire of reality TV. The sprawling cast, ranging in age from four to 74, is a bona fide family affair, featuring kids, parents, grandmas and anyone else crazy (and/or stage-struck) enough to want to join in. "We have whole families on stage together," Lamun says, noting that rehearsals have been running day and night to accommodate everyone from stay-at-home moms, who can join in with the kids during the day, to professionals, whose leisure time is limited to evenings or weekends. Bratrace isn't the first family-style foray for Lamun, who has been overseeing Peanut Butter Players productions and children's drama programs in Boulder for twelve years. The artist explains that the style is something that comes naturally; she says she's been hooked by the notion of theater for kids since she was six. "I just got stuck there, I guess," Lamun remarks. Her dedication is obvious: "Children are very inventive, creative and uninhibited. They're daring. They take chances. The success rate with them is so positive and strong." And they apparently get a kick out of witnessing the same qualities taking flight in their parents: "They love seeing their parents acting silly," she adds, which is great, because silliness is an overriding theme in Bratrace.
Shows are at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Boulder High School auditorium, 1604 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder; tickets are $4 to $6 at the door. Call 303-786-8727. -- Susan Froyd
Wildlife can be cool
Jessy Clark knew it must be really hot outside. After all, the kids enrolled in a recent Wildlife Experience summer camp had enough of Chatfield Reservoir after only a couple of hours of their field trip. But Clark wasn't bummed out. The Parker museum's education manager understood.
"It was hot," she says. "Usually kids that age don't notice."
Still, that won't stop the institution from launching another set of nature lovers, ages eight to twelve, on a weeklong exploration starting at 9 a.m. today. This Wildlife Experience "survival" camp isn't about power-crazed reality-TV types seeking to boot someone off the program. Instead, the sessions will focus on how animals adapt.
Clark says the campers will get a chance to draw big cats, watch several large-format movies and yes -- check out fowl one day at Chatfield. That could be a real-life test on how humans adapt to the searing heat. Clark remains upbeat about the programs at the museum, 10035 South Peoria Street. A recent group, for instance, got to cast animal tracks out of a gooey substance.
"We have a blast, and they learn," Clark says.
The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The cost is $160 for members, $180 for nonmembers. For more information, call 720-488-3300 or log on to www.thewildlifeexperience.org. -- Ernie Tucker
America's firefighters have become national heroes in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Salute your local studs at today's Firefighters Appreciation Day celebration. The free festivities will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, and include rescue and first-aid demonstrations, antique firetruck rides and a station where you can create thank-you cards for local firefighters.
"We want to show the public what firefighters do on a daily basis," says Carey Southwell, the museum's executive director. "And also provide a lot of practical safety information."
For more information, call the museum at 303-892-1436 or check out www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org. -- Julie Dunn
Ready for Takeoff
Flight Expo lifts young aviators
Some kids seem to know they want to be high flyers. For them, the Youth Flight Expo could be the ticket to an airborne future. The event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, is geared to give hopefuls a career boost. Participants will be handed a flight notebook for a variety of activities, along with a note explaining that not everything needs to be accomplished in one visit.
"It'll be a good way to mark the centennial anniversary of flight," says museum spokeswoman Susan Darigo.
There are various hands-on segments to master: computer flight simulators, an aerodynamics lab, charts on how to navigate, aircraft to inspect and a build-a-paper-airplane section. Volunteers, many of them pilots from various Colorado organizations, will help kids measure their progress toward becoming flightworthy. And those who successfully complete all the sections in the notebook could find themselves taking off someday into the wild blue yonder. Adult admission, $6; kids six to seventeen, $4. Call 303-360-5360 for information. -- Ernie Tucker