by Carrie Kirk
"What was I thinking?"
That was exactly what I was thinking as we headed north on I-69 toward Muncie. It was Wednesday evening. It was cold. It was grey. It was February in Indiana. But a couple of weeks ago, I had an inspired moment - probably after I downed a triple-shot latte - and had purchased tickets to Blue Man Group. Never mind that they would perform mid-week a little over an hour from our home in Indianapolis... THIS would be a phenomenal experience to share with my two boys! It would be well-worth it. Right?Right?
Right, I repeated to myself as I packed the car and the boys. Right, as we ate Steak 'n Shake on the road. Right, as the traffic around the Fishers area packed us in like sardines.
An hour later, after parking and finding our seats at Emens Auditorium on Ball State University's campus, I confidently, unequivocally was right. Without sounding too corny, the energy in the auditorium was palpable. We were surrounded by college students and a smattering of kids and older adults, everyone pumped up and ready for fun. And it was. From the beginning of the performance with the digital screen telling us to sing, clap, and yell to the end of the show when numerous large, inflatable balls were released into the audience and it seemed every single person had the chance to send at least one ball sailing upwards.
If you are a parent or have spent anytime whatsoever with a younger child, you know what it's like to look over and see pure joy in their face. To hear their laughter.To witness their abandonment to the moment. And - if you are responsible for placing them in that certain circumstance - well...can I just say that at least for that nanosecond, You. Are.Awesome.
Indianapolis is home to so many institutions and venues with family-friendly events, programs and exhibits, but I suggest considering a road-trip to expand the experiences for the child in your life. We are truly fortunate to have universities thirty minutes to an hour drive away that draw wonderful shows to the area. Along with events presented by the Department of Theatre and Drama and IU Cinema, the IU Auditorium always brings in shows that are worth the drive. This month you can look forward to Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. We are also excited to have tickets for the 7 Fingers to perform PSY on April 16th back at Emens. This show delves into the human psyche - which as we all know can be a dark and twisted thing - so decide for yourself if your child is ready for this material. Sursa Hall and Pruis Hall at Ball State are more favorites. (consider the Tartan Terrors on April 6th). And we can't forget our other neighbor to the north - Purdue University. Like Ball State, the university has a handful of venues, but Elliott Hall of Music stages the larger shows.
So this leads me to the promise I made to myself as we drove home following the Blue Man Group performance: we will do this more often. We will load up, eat on the road and venture to the many great venues that maybe aren't so conveniently located in relation to our starting point. We will look beyond our own backyard to other city's cultural gems. The pilgrimage will be well worth it. Right?