From my soon-to-be 4yr old daughter this morning, re: The Tempest...
"Who was the tall girl with the white hair?"
"That was Ariel, remember?"
"No. No, no, Daddy. Ariel had the big wings, and she was all in black."
"Well, yes, that was Ariel too. That was Ariel when he was mad. Ariel's a boy in this one."
"And then those people tied him up so he wouldn't get away!"
That last one sounds like a non-sequitur for those that didn't see the show. When Ariel exits, it's almost impossible for him not to get caught in his own wings :). It looks, to a 4yr old, like he's been captured by the people who were hiding behind him holding a net.
My 6yr old, on the other hand, was disappointed that there were in fact no big dogs to chase Stefano, Trinculo and Caliban from Prospero's cave. "I don't think they had any real dogs to work with!" I said.
"Daddy," she said in that patient voice of children speaking to adults, "Not real dogs. But maybe they could have had dog *costumes*, and somebody could have dressed up like a dog."
The 2yr old summed up his experience more succinctly: "Caliban monster?" I think he was confused after the show when the actor playing Caliban had come over to talk to us, and the let the kids play with the noise makers. We had to explain that he wasn't a monster, just somebody pretending to be a monster.
If this were a movie, they would watch it a few dozen times until every detail was memorized (just like with any given episode of Sesame Street). That's the sad part about live theatre, at that age. If they're at all confused, they have no time to fully process what they're seeing before it is gone. I guess I'll just have to make sure they see lots of theatre! :)