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Go Ask Mom

Tables turned - kind of - for 'Odd Squad Live' at DPAC Saturday

Posted November 1

Credit: Sam Burkardt

On the "Odd Squad" TV show on PBS KIDS, the kids are in charge. They are the only ones who, using various math skills, can uncover why unusual things are happening in their town.

In the live stage version, which is stopping at the Durham Performing Arts Center for a 6 p.m. show on Saturday, the tables are turned - well ... sort of. In "Odd Squad Live!," Father Time has turned all of those kid agents into adults. And that means the kids in the audience are the ones charged with making everything right.

It gets kids involved in the action, which unfolds on stage and in the audience during the show, which runs about 90 minutes with intermission.

"It still fits the whole Odd Squad theme," cast member Rebecca Marquardt tells me. "Everything about it. The show was written by the same writers who created the TV show."

There are no kids on stage, but a video screen includes appearances from Miss O from the popular TV series for grade schoolers. There also will be references to Baby Genius, who roams town in a stroller pushed by his nanny, and Soundcheck, a boy band.

Marquardt plays Meg, who isn't part of Odd Squad. She "works" for the theater and is, as she said, "along for the ride just as much as everybody in the audience."

Meg introduces the fact that there's been a lot of "oddness" around town and then helps Miss O coordinate the training of new agents - all the kids in the audience - to get to the bottom of everything. Her role is part improv and part scripted - depending on the audience and their reactions to the show.

"I'm woven through the story," she said. "I'm in between the audience and the other actors in the Odd Squad world."

For Odd Squad fans, there will be plenty of bits they recognize from the show, including a song that kids will be asked to dance to. But you don't have to be a fan to enjoy it.

"It is still accessible to kids who don’t know the TV show," Marquardt said. "Half of the kids who have been coming in are in Odd Squad uniforms. They come up and they are wearing the full navy blue suit, red tie, red tennis shoes. They have the whole thing down. But it's still enjoyable if you know nothing about Odd Squad."

And, said Marquardt, this isn't one of those shows where just the kids are laughing. The writers have woven in plenty of jokes that will get smiles from the adults in the audience as well.

"Sometimes the kid and the adutls are laughing together," she said. "Some laughs it’s just the kids and other times it’s just the adults laughing and the kids are like, 'What? Can we move on?' They really do a good job of finding the balance."

Tickets for the 6 p.m., Saturday, show at the Durham Performing Arts Center start at about $30 plus taxes and fees. Everybody requires a ticket, regardless of age. DPAC's website has more information.

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