A play on words

October 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Aww yeah, there’s nothing like a bad pun on a Sunday afternoon! Yes, in today’s Editor’s Notebook I am focussing on a different kind of children’s entertainment – Theatre.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Much Adoe About Shakespeare, written and directed by my dear friend Andrew (who also wrote and directed the children’s play I performed in a couple of years ago, Daisy Sunflower and the Creature – he’s a talented man!).

Much Adoe About Shakespeare

Much Adoe About Shakespeare is a children’s theatre version of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy about two pairs of lovers.

I shall let Andrew take over the description:

The play is still set in the small town of Messina, yet the locals are a flock of birds. The lyrebirds – Beatrice and Benedick – continually bicker with one another, while the pigeons – Claudio and Hero – are deeply in love and are to be married.

The town leader, pelican Leonato, is delighted with the prospects of the upcoming wedding, although not all the townsfolk are as happy. The villainous magpie Don Pedro, and his bowerbirds Borachio and Conrade, are out to deceive and cause trouble.

Pigeon Pair - Hero and Claudio

Much Adoe About Shakespeare reinvents the original play to appeal to a young audience, however it has a whole lot for adults too.

I laughed, I (almost) cried and I even picked up some fun references to other plays and things that would go straight over the heads of the play’s intended audience – for example, the tagline “A Lyre will not be believed, even when it speaks the truth”, a very clever takeoff of the moral from Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

The thing I love most about children’s theatre as a whole, which is well represented in this particular play, is the ability to educate and inform in a thoroughly entertaining way.

The not so happy couple - Benedick and Beatrice

In addition to its focus on Australian bird life, Much Adoe About Shakespeare contains important behavioural messages.

Once again, I shall use Andrew’s words, since he’s done a much better job at it than I could:

As many of the characters throughout the play choose to deliberately lie and trick others, the negative results of these actions are explored. As each deception develops in intensity, so do the ramifications and consequences for all of those involved.

Andrew believes the educational merit of Shakespeare’s work is rarely explored or highlighted through performance, particularly for young audience.

Hence, this production aims to make Shakespeare more accessible for younger audiences.

Unfortunately, I wound up going to one of the later shows, so was unable to see the effect of the play on actual children. However, I can say that my inner three year old enjoyed it immensely!

Sadly, as with many smaller children’s theatre shows, this one had a short run, with the final show held at 9.20 this morning. Still, hopefully I will be able to convince Andrew to share some of his fabulous work with us here at Squeaky Shoe Stories (hint hint – Andrew) and maybe one day we will even branch out into Squeaky Shoe Stories Productions! I wouldn’t mind reliving my Daisy Sunflower days 😉

In the meantime, readers in Western Australia should keep an eye on Murdoch University’s Children’s Theatre program. They put on one big show every year (or semester, I forget which) while people like Andrew also put on smaller shows now and then.

Has anyone seen any good children’s shows lately? I hear Playschool and The Wiggles have both been touring, which would be exciting. Not that I’m at all jealous of everyone who got to go to those…

PS, I promise I will have a new story for you next weekend. Hopefully it might even be worth the wait! To make up for it, here is a photo of me as Daisy Sunflower. Gosh my hair was long!

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