Erth’s prehistoric creatures come to life to educate, entertain in ‘Dinosaur Zoo’

For the CDTApril 4, 2014 

  • if you go

    What: “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo”

    When: 1 p.m., pre-show children’s activity; 2 p.m., show, April 6

    Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park

    Info: www.cpa.psu.edu, 800-ARTS-TIX

A live tour of prehistoric creatures of Australia will bring lifelike dinosaurs and other creatures of the era to the Eisenhower Auditorium April 6.

Brought to life through skilled puppeteers and performers in a theatric setting, “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” will introduce an array of ancient creatures, including the peaceful hulk Titanosaur; the teeth-gnashing, meat-eater Tyrannosaurus-rex; plant-eaters such as Triceratops; baby dinosaurs; and a menagerie of insects, mammals and dinosaurs.

A unique and interactive theater performance, “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is designed to stimulate the imagination in a way that connects children to their world. Developed in consultation with paleontologists and based on modern science and interpretations of fossil evidence, the large-scale puppets are operated by skilled performers and puppeteers using sophisticated design and electronics.

For more than 21 years, Australia-based Erth Visual & Physical Inc. has brought the impossible to life with its visual theater works.

“Dinosaur Zoo” host Aimee Louisanne recalls being fascinated with dinosaurs growing up as a child.

“My first book that I ever owned was a book that my dad had professionally made for me; it was a Christmas present,” she said. “It was about me going into the land of dinosaurs. I still have that book to this day. I definitely always loved the concept of dinosaurs.”

The idea for the show started when it was suggested that the company make a dinosaur.

“Someone said, ‘Why don’t you do dinosaurs?’ ” Louisanne said. “And they said, ‘Why don’t we? Let’s make one.’ So they made one, and they just took it out on the street and had fun with it, and people went nuts. I think the original reason was just because people wanted to see it.”

More than a million people have seen Erth’s dinosaurs in performances such as “Dinosaur Petting Zoo” and “Dinosaur Zoo Live,” and in museums all over the world including the Australian Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, Natural Museums Liverpool, Montreal Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.

Louisanne said the reactions from their audiences has been amazing.

“We choose different kids to come up on stage, and the kids love it,” she said. “Some of them get up on stage and interact, and some of them get so freaked out and run off stage.”

The responses from parents has been positive as well, as the opportunity to see the creatures up close adds to the experience.

“It’s not like other shows, where you can’t touch anything ,” Louisanne said. “Ours is more personable and a lot more interactive. People seem to love it because it’s just such an original show. There’s nothing quite like it.”

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