Archive for February, 2009

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3rd instalment of Salzburg

February 19, 2009

we are now onto the 2nd day of the festival and a familiar show – My House – from scotland created and performed by Andy Manley.  I had already seen this show in Edinburgh at Imaginate in May 2008 – and really loved it at least as much as Astrid!  It was great to see it again with an Austrian audience – who reacted v similarly to the Scottish one!  Giggling, answering, jaw dropped stare – fully and delightfully engaged!  This show used no words, other than ‘mein haus’ – lucky Andy who couldn’t speak german!  it didn’t stop one girl from saying ‘hallo!!!’ a number of times until she gave up that this funny man wasn’t going to speak to her – look yes, but speak no!  the children had an obvious love of Andy from the beginning and really engaged with the play with the ‘water melon’ as a character – just by simply placing a bobble hat on it.  When asked how he came up with the idea for this, Andy said, ‘I wanted to use something that was the same size as my head!  And a water melon seemed to do the trick!’  His humble and v straightforward manner was equally engaging for parents alike.  he has one of those special qualities of an adult who hasn’t lost sight of his child. Not in a childish way but in the most profound and playful way.  I think it would be impossible not to engage with him as performer!

there was also much more humour in this piece with a beautiful naivity and acceptance of the artefacts around him in the same way that children adopt the objects around them to play their games – however incongruous!  I think you can probably pick up that i loved this show.  afterwards the children are invited to join Andy for a picnic of fruit – in Scotland is was water melon but here it was grapes!  The theme of ‘opening yourself’ up, linking himself to ‘his house’ was redolent of those first friendships children make when they open themselves up to new relationships outside the ‘home’.  it is so simple but profound and as such the children could genuinely engage with all the material.  Having ‘opened’ himself out, Andy is joined by his new frineds – the audience – for whom he has some bobble hats!  they are also allowed to play in his house and many children copied some of the action they had seen Andy do, ie pretend there is a lift behind the house – disappear and reappear.  they also played with some of his props and recreated moments in the show.  We were treated to a 2nd show, watching the children play!

So in many ways, seeing this show, reaffirmed my belief that special performers can make v special relationships with children through a performance, and when this happens and serves the content of the show – you end up with a v special show indeed!

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Photos from Salzburg

February 14, 2009
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2nd salzburg instalment

February 10, 2009
playing with sand and having a chat!

playing with sand and having a chat!

so am onto my 2nd instalment and first evening in Salzburg.  This time visiting the Toihaus theatre – great space and so child friendly – i love the coat racks and the ritual that everyone inc children take off their coats and hang them up in the ‘foyer’ area so that you are so much lighter when going into the theatre.  this would be great especially for our ‘promenade style work’! anyway, onto the 2nd show and ‘Al di La’ which I found to be relatively abstract – also intersting in light of what we are currently creating in ‘space hoppers’.  this was v much about the relationship between male and female – sun and moon, oblong and circle and I guess about the moments when they ‘touch’.  What i found a shame about this show was the removal of the performers from the children – it was v hard to see when if at all they m ade eye contact with the children sitting so closely to them.  To me it seemed strange.  i have to say that the children connected v strongly with the shapes – so much so that 1 toddler wanted to get into the performance space to touch the ‘ball’.  they played with the shapes both in shadow and in actuality before the screen – and there was a clear fascination with the children by the altered image of the shape.

The performance had a beautiful lyrical quality to it, but personally I thought they missed a trick by not directly engaging the children.  Even at the end when the performance was over, the performers sat apart from the parents and children as if to say, ‘now it’s your turn’, but did not join in with their drawing at the end.  it was intereesting that the shapes drawn by the children at the end of the show were vastly different to the 1st show – and much more shape orientated, although it was hard sometimes to differentiate between the child’s markings and the parents – as they were both enjoying drawing together – many more parents drawing after this show than the first!

from my point of view I was fascinated that both shows didn’t need the performers to make direct eye contact with the children in order for the children to become engaged – so long as the form or content held an interest!!!!!!

Ruth, re your comment re Bach in the sand – i will answer when i get to that part of the trip – if that’s ok???? it was for me my favourite show of the festival though!!! and the photo is form that show – i have to confess that i forgot my camera – although have asked the v organised Germans to email me some of their images so shoudl be able to upload some!

anyway, that’s it for now, next instalment will come soon!  best wishes Natasha

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1st instalment of salzburg

February 7, 2009

End of the 1st day and relaxing in comfy hotel with Otto asleep! saw 2 shows today – ETS – BEEST from holland – Katrina Brown originally from UK – (2 – 4 years) and Al di La by Tam teatro Musica from Italy (1.5 – 4 years).  both v interesting particularly from the point of view of ‘engaging the children’ or ‘interaction/participation’  which is what i am foucssing on. What i found especially interesting was the lack of direct eye contact between performer and child. at first i thought i wasn’t going to like ETS BEEST at all. it was a dance piece with a large white paper across the hall floor whith the children sat around the edges.  There was a percussive musician who created every sound with his voice and 1 dancer – Katrina.  the dancer didn’t get direct eye contact at all with the children but moved around the paper according to the rythmn/sound from the vocalist. at certain points she would draw around herself or make markings according to the sound.  i noted that Otto was captivated!!!! after a while i realised that it was quite deliberate to not directly engage the children and professor Hanny from berlin put it most succinctly by saying; ‘she is trying to get the children to focus on the form rather than direct communication.’  And it was obvisous that some children related to the form more than others – to be expected i suppose.

there was a gorgeous little boy approx 3, who was v curious, he sat on the paper v early and i wondered how the dancer would engage with him?  She danced over him and made abridge over him then moved away – i thought it a shame that she didn’t continue with this interaction as i found it fascinating to watch and the little boy was v open to it.  he was one of t he first to then pick up some of the charcoal to draw on the paper.  the children were subtley encouraged to do so after the ‘performance’ and it was interesting to see how they then marked the paper.  the vocalist continued to improvise – some children danced, some drew, some played and some disappeared!  I particualrly liked 1 moment when a little girl wandered around the outside of the space and the dancer offered her some charcoal around her back, if she had offeredit directly i don’t think the girl would have taken it, but as it was from behind her back, she came over and took it , then drew off the paper on the floor. I loved to see the kids and some parents with black smudged faces and socks! cleaning it off became another shared activity!  it is the kind of approach to making work for this age group that i wouldn’t have considered, so it was great to see something so far removed from my own practice.

anyway more later on the 2nd show!!!! good night for now!

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Salzburg trip

February 4, 2009

hi dandelions!

got back last night from salzburg and festival Bim Bam – had a great time and really enjoyed using some deutsch, although everyone spoke such good english!!!!!!!!

have made quite a few notes which i will be posting up over w/e and next week. there was a good discussion on ‘creative impulse’ that i thought might interest Lizzie which i really enjoyed too.  saw only 4 shows as was pretty laid back festival as these things go, but have to say that all 4 shows were well worth seeing as opposed to seeing 6 in a day and only really thinking one was interesting.  met some great people and hoping to strengthen some of the relationships through dandelion. def been inspired for new show for littlest ones!  And Otto had a great time too, he especially loved ‘Bach in Sand’ – a beautiful end to the festival!

more later until then love to all, tash x