Review: Mots de Jeux and CutOuts

by Lynn on May 16, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

The Wee Festival continues

At various venues in Toronto, Ont.

Mots de Jeux (in French)

Vox Théâtre (Ottawa, Ont)

Written by Sarah Migneron

For children 18 months to 4 years.

Plays May 15, 16.

Three charming performers play three impish children trying to get to sleep. They are in the same bed. They toss and turn. When they wake they play word games, make up songs, engage with their young audience and hold their  attention for the whole of it. After a full day of playing the three naturally are tired and eventually go to bed to rest and be ready for the adventures for the next day.


 Teatro dei Piccoli Principi (Italy)

Created by Alessandro Libertini and Veronique Nah

Performed by Alessandro Libertini

For children 2 years old and up

Plays from May 15-17, all shows are sold out.

We enter the dark space and are greeted by a woman who reminds us we must only whisper.  A man in a ‘lab’ coat of sorts sits reading a newspaper, a scissors in his hand. The floor is strewn with cut out shapes of paper. There is a computer on a table at the back, a large screen centre. There are a few illuminated lamps on tables. Once we are seated the woman says, “Maestro, everybody is here.” The maestro then begins cutting out figures. In the first instance he cuts out a string of figures and unfurls them but it’s done in darkness (at least where I sit at the back) that I can’t see the figures properly.

He takes the string of figures and goes to the large screen in the centre and tacks them to it. He tacks two strings of figures to the screen at which point the screen falls backwards off the aisle holding it. Neither the Maestro nor the woman can fix it in order to prop the screen on it. So the woman stands behind it and hold it up (as best as she can) for the time the Maestro uses it. The Maestro cuts out a tin pie plate and produces a ballet dancer. He puts that on another screen on one of the tables. Ballet dancers seem to be a motif of the show. With clever technology a floating piece of material affixes itself to the figure and thus creates a ballerina in her flowing costume. Another figure is created and revolves as a dancer would. We only see half the figure—is this deliberate or a glitch? I don’t know. The Maestro slowly flips the pages of a book that is projected on a screen—these are sketches of dancers in various poses. The cut outs are clever as is the technology.

Of all the Wee Festival shows I’ve seen so far, CutOuts is the oddest. The description of the show says that the cut outs are influenced by the paper cut outs of Matisse, Picasso and  Hans Christian Anderson. News to me. I didn’t see the connection of any of these cut outs to anything related to these artists. I also thought that the pace and the substance was too sophisticated for an audience of kids who were two-years-old and up. Odd little show.

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