Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Imaginate - A Chance to be a Child for a Few Days

Myself and Ej has been invited along to see some performances and get the chance to meet some performers/actors/producers/whoever has a chance to be there. I saw 6 performances, over the space of 3 days so I'll be talking about these performances. This is late and I'm terribly sorry. Things has been hectic but Imaginate has been in the front of my mind these past few months. 

When I arrived, I went to see "The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik". It was stunning. The style of puppetry used was unique and admirable. I admired his skills and how he interacted with the animation on screen. The story was basic. It was about a man who lost his wife and decided to go into the sea to find her soul. He found her soul but couldn't bring her back onto the soil. As he tried to reach back to earth, he died and his soul lived on forever with her in the sea. Wonderful lighting of the souls, as the bright yellow light representing the wife's soul. In the Q&A, there was a wee girl, saying that the performance was "heartbreaking". I have to agree with her. I loved it. The screen with animation, was just stunning. The actor, doing this on his own, I admire him for it. Keeping the kids entertained with a tragic story but beautiful.
Information on "The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik"

Arriving in Festival Theatre Studios to see "Tiger Tale", expecting a storytelling and heavy dialogue, it was nothing I expected at all. It was a dance piece. A great piece of dance. They had the mother, the father and the daughter, all doing the day to day routine but the daughter was obviously bored with this, wanting to become a lion. The mother and the father didn't condone this and told her not to be a tiger. The father disappeared and became a tiger, annoying the mother but the daughter was excited by this. As the tiger come into the scene, everyone was terrified of him but started to have fun and embraced the inner tiger within them. The father came back and everyone started to have run about, having fun. I loved this performance. Wasn't anything I expected at all. The children were obviously enjoying it and my friend enjoyed having the tiger's feet in her face as he chucked some stuff onto the stage, annoying the mother. I thought this wasn't children's theatre I saw when I was a child. It was experimental, unique and it drew me in from the moment it started. 
Information on "Tiger Tale"

The next day, I got up and saw "Not Now Bernard". This is a one man show, he played two different characters, the boy and the monster. The set was simple (as seen below) and the kids really connected with the young boy. Every time the young boy would do a simple movement, the kids really connect with the young boy. The set had a mother and the father as part of the stage but it wasn't portrayed by actors, it was a cardboard with one movement on the arms or the legs. The quote was "Not Now Bernard". That was it. It was simple, funny and great. I feel I don't need to add more to it as it was good as it is. The kids are a better critic at this than I am, they all loved it.
Information on "Not Now Bernard"

But Up To Speed, I felt it was better. It was a spoken language performance but I loved it. There was two characters portrayed by two fantastic actors. The girl was obsessed with Doctor Who and being a Doctor Who fan myself, I was excited by this reference. I was happy to hear about the time travelling, I felt like a kid and watched the boy being the gullible person when the girl talked about the fact that time travelling is real. If I was his age, I would of believed it too. The girl said that every time you see a penny on the ground, it's actually someone who has been time travelling, leaving pennies from that year behind to let them know where they have been. For example, if you've found a penny from 1992, it means they've been there at 1992. I thought this was a fantastic idea, making something that was so simple into something magical. I wish I can see it again. When the performance finished, we all walked out of the theatre, there was these pennies all over the ground. I thought it was a great way to connect with the children. The acting from both the actors were just fantastic. They've told the story well and I loved the set!
Information on "Up To Speed"

I thought that the performances at Imaginate were really high standard and it really connected well with the children, I saw "Saltbush" which I was really excited about and had really high expectations about after hearing about their style of theatre which is using lights that is projected on the ground. I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed as I did expect something more magical. However, the singing involved was beautiful, the involvement of children into the story made my eyes a bit teary and I loved the ending. The ending was this massive piece of material, flowing over the floor with the night sky projected onto it. The children were under this material, gazing upon the beautiful night sky. It was truly beautiful to watch. I really wanted to get involved and sit with them but I don't think it would be acceptable. For me personally, watching the kids get up and get involved is truly beautiful. Once I've finished the show, a man told us about a young girl in a wheelchair not being able to get involved in much of the show but when the stars came out, they lifted her out of the chair and allowed her to watch the stars. That just made my heart clench. So many feels.
Information on Saltbush

And FINALLY (I know, I saw a lot of performances. I love Imaginate), I saw Manxmouse. This was a adorable story about a rare kind of mouse, called a Manxmouse which was really expensive to get, having to face up against a Manxcat. This was just fantastic. It was set in a warehouse where a group of workers, were doing their daily work. One of them was reading a story so they decided to use the stuff in the warehouse to tell a story. The puppetry skills was fantastic, the use of props were just great. I couldn't believe my eyes. Every time they move onto a new scene, they would actually set it up in front of us and that was really great to watch. I think it was great for the children to watch that process of how the story was set up and it really helped with the flow. I really enjoyed it. It had comedy moments and emotional moments. It was simply brilliant.
Information on Manxmouse

I feel that the performances at Imaginate were just enjoyable and I felt like a kid, being there. For me, the true critics is the children and not myself. The shows were created for them and I couldn't be able to say which were bad for the children and which were good. If I hear the children's laughter or see their faces alight with excitement, they've done a real good job. I loved it, thank you Imaginate.

Information on Imaginate

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