REVIEW: Knick Knacks and Tik Toks at Echo Theater Company

As we entered the Echo Theater for their performance last Sunday, my two young companions and I were filled with curiosity. Both had attended camps and classes at the familiar location, and have been to see other performances, but this trip was different.

EchoTheater5The stage was set with props and lighting and the whole room felt as it if was underwater. The atmosphere was filled with energy and excitement. When Aaron, Creative Director, and Bianca, Executive Director, took the stage to introduce the show, they were brimming with enthusiasm about the evening’s performance. This was the culmination of the hard work and creativity of their youth performance group, and we couldn’t wait for it to start.

The first Act Alice in Underland was a kind of mashup of Alice in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid. The story was fairly simple, but the enactment was incredible to watch. These young performers played their roles and took their acrobatic performances with a level of professionalism usually only reserved for adults. As the lights came up at the end of the first Act we applauded not just for the performers but for their amazing creativity.

The second act The House of Many Worlds took the audience on a tour of sorts – a tour of places between other places. Our guide(s) were different performers throughout – identified by a yellow scarf and large set of keys. They guided us through doors to places (rooms) we often don’t think about as destinations – memory, dreaming, mystery, broken rules, wanting – but are certainly parts of our everyday lives. In each room we were treated to an acrobatic enactment of the feeling – curiosity, wanting, meeting – performed by young artists skilled in their craft. They were so engaging for me that I felt transported to the room itself and was taken in my their movements and emotions.

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EchoTheater6The performance ended with loud applause from the audience and grins from the performers. As we exited the theater I asked my young companions what they thought and they both said they loved it. One said her favorite was the performance of artists high in the air on a cube in the Room of Energy and the other really enjoyed the sword fighting scene from the Room of Broken Rules. They both agreed it was fun to see some of the skills they had learned in classes and camps put together in a complete performance. I myself was truly impressed with everything — mostly with how talented these young people were at performing impressive acrobatic feats at a very professional levels.

The director’s had a note I wanted to share about the ensembles we had the opportunity to see perform.

The theme of the 2015-16 ETC performance season is ‘Between Worlds’, and each youth company was challenged to build their creative work in a way that connected to this theme. The Echo is a place where many worlds overlap. People of differing ages, disciplines, communities, and goals come together to explore their individual and collective potential here. Ensemble theater is a process of discovering the world between the players as we create it together. An audience is an essential component of our journey, and we thank you for playing a role in our adventure. Welcome to our worlds…

The Tik Toks & Knick Knacks are “the youth performance groups of the ETC. Performers are chosen through an audition process during the summer and work as an ensemble throughout the school year, training in acrobatics, aerial dance, and physical theater. This show is a culmination of this year’s process…a tiny snapshop of the master work of supporting collaborative creative problem-solvers! If you are interested in auditioning, ask your instructor for more information…and do push ups…lots of push ups!”

Click here for more information about Echo Theater Company.

Tabitha and her guests were given tickets to attend this performance for review. She was in no way compensated for her opinions.

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at
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