Mixed Up 

Imagination playing tricks

SAT 4/5

We all remember the high jinks that ensued when the prehistoric world of the Flintstones and the futuristic world of the Jetsons collided. Now imagine what could happen when three children's story classics combine on one stage. The three bears end up in family counseling. Unheard of! The big bad wolf disguises (or reveals) himself as a real-estate agent. Unthinkable! While only a child's imagination -- the kind that ponders the mixture of all liquids and all condiments -- could embrace such an intertwining of fantastic realities, children and parents alike will be delighted by the Hillside Players' staging of the original comedy Tangled Tales. The Players, formerly known as Mark Wimple Productions, only have been in Berkeley for two years, but have brought to the stage such gems as The Pirate Prince and a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical revue. Don't miss this new, completely original work written by cast member Aaron Brock and performed by a number of talented Bay Area community theater actors and actresses. Witness the hilarity at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley, on Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m., April 6 at 2 p.m., April 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on April 13 at 2 p.m. $7 adults, $4 children under 12 and students. 510-384-6418. -- Malka Geffen

SAT 4/5

Marshkins

Hayward's marsh madness

The Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center offers kids and caregivers plenty of excuses to get outside this week. April's edition of the Nature Detectives hike series is "Spring Flowers," offering plenty of beauty for both big and little folks (specifically, those 3-5 years old) on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. If you can't make that, show up Sunday at noon for "Worms, Fishies, and Mud, Oh My!," wherein kids of all ages use microscopes and hand lenses to spy on even the smallest of marsh citizens till 3 p.m. Finally, on Tuesday at 11 a.m., parents and caregivers of infants are invited to join the Stilts and Strollers Club in following naturalist Adrienne De Ponte on a stroll along the shoreline. The Center is located at 4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward. Call 510-670-7270 for complete details. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 4/5

Zamfooey!

Kids' komedy off-the-kuff

"We're really popular with seven-year-old boys for some reason," says Jayne Goodman. No, she doesn't work for Spider-Man or the cardboard box consortium -- she is with Zamfoo!, an improvisational kiddie comedy troupe affiliated with the Oakland Playhouse. So what, exactly, does "zamfoo" mean? Well, the ensemble's rotating cast elicits suggestions from the five- to twelve-year-old audience and run with them, creating sketches and songs out of -- zamfoo! -- thin air. "It's a very creative thing for kids, to see their ideas come alive onstage. And it's so much fun to work with kids, because they have no filters." This weekend's performance at the Black Box (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) marks Zamfoo's first anniversary. 2 p.m., $5. 510-451-1932. -- Stefanie Kalem

WED 4/2

Books 4 Tots

You're never too young to be introduced to the library. Today and every Wednesday through May 21, preschoolers ages 3-5 are invited to the Castro Valley Library. The series of eight half-hour sessions includes stories, games, and additional time for parents and their kids to pick out books to take home and read. You can register ahead by visiting the library (20055 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley) or by calling 510-670-6280. Advance registration is required. Storytime begins at 10:30 a.m. -- Kelly Vance

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