Lauren Sodano

Play-Time: Racing Against the Clock

Consider a paradox: people who play the fastest devote great lengths of time to doing so. This presents a conundrum only slightly less challenging than a Rubik’s Cube—unless you’re the current world record holder, who solved the puzzling polyhedron in less than six seconds. If you asked champion Feliks Zemdegs, he’d probably say the goal of playing quickly is achieved slowly.

New Year’s Resolutions from the Artifacts

Some folks have reported visions of sugarplums recently—I’ve worked so closely with museum artifacts that I’m hearing their voices. Call me the Toy Whisperer or just plain loopy, but I listen when the museum’s toys and games talk about their New Year’s resolutions. The artifacts have some ambitious goals for 2012, but this doesn’t surprise me at all—they were busy last year, too.

The Open Road

Getting behind the wheel can be stressful. Congestion, construction, and detours are no day at the beach . . . especially when all we want to do is make it to the beach. Most of us enjoy a good road trip, but with so many obstacles taking the air out of our tires, who can blame us for just wanting to get from Point A to Point B? What happened to the days when simply riding in an automobile was cause for celebration, and the journey was as exciting as the destination?

More than Words: Theater’s Unsung Heroes

Rolling my artifact cart through the exhibits at The Strong’s National Museum of Play, I often spot guests who are shoo-ins for the stage. These budding thespians linger under the colorful lights in Kid to Kid and the majestic red curtain in Reading Adventureland’s Fairy Tale Forest. There’s nothing like playing at plays—take it from me, since I spent most of my high school years performing in theatrical productions.

Funny Papers: Spoofing the News

Playing with words and images can be funny: joke-telling, trickery, and satire allow us to be subversive without the repercussions that may accompany more malicious behavior. At seven or eight years old, my best friend and I produced a fake weekly newspaper. We pasted school portraits alongside our bylines and painstakingly crafted gossip columns, “horror-scopes,” quizzes, and bizarre feature stories about our classmates.