Review: SCOOP, The Wee Festival

by Lynn on May 17, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Intergalactic Arts Studio, 180 Shaw Street, Studio 103, Toronto, Ont.

Created by Magnet Early Years Theatre Company, South Africa

Directed by Koleka Putuma

Design by Nicola Date

For infants 6 weeks old to 12 months.

Ran from May 15-17, 2018.

Scoop was enchanting and so illuminating about theatre, babies and  adults.

 In one of the rooms of the Intergalactic Arts Studio, six infants and their mothers are invited to sit in a semi-circle on cushions in a warm, comfortable tent. Four performers in white jumpsuits with a colourful pocket sit amongst the babies and mothers and interact with the infants closest to them.

One of the performers begins playing a bowl-shaped stringed instrument. The babies are transfixed. And silent with awe. After a while the four sing, make rhythmic noises, create a percussive snapping patter with wood utensils, slurping sounds, bring out small containers that make rattling sounds, dangle silk material above the infants’ heads that delicately glide over their skin, click a little light on and off around them, put coloured light in a bowl and swirl it around and sing the names of each child.

Each ‘exercise’ is long enough to engage the infant but not so long as to overstay its welcome. Knowing when to shift and move to the next moment is one of the beautiful points to this gifted company and their joyful show. At every single turn the infants are engaged, alert and present in the moment. One mother moved her infant daughter’s legs in time to the music. I wondered it the child would learn this on her own or if she got a sense of rhythm from her mother.

At the end of the show, the infants were encouraged to play with all the things that had been used in the show. And they sure did play.

I’ve seen One Thing Leads to Another geared expressly for infants, that played at our own Young People’s Theatre. At that show the babies were engaged and just enraptured. Magnet Early Years Theatre Company from South Africa has their own spin on this kind of theatre that pricks the interest of our youngest audiences and has them for life.

The run for Scoop was very short and alas is over. But the company’s next show Knock

plays at the Theatre Centre May 19-20. In that the music, noise etc. one can make with wood and other materials is explored.

Don’t miss this and the rest of the festival’s offerings.

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