by Lynn on May 22, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

From the WEE Festival

At various venues in Toronto, Ont.

These are the final four shows of the WEE Festival that I saw this past weekend. They all had short runs and closed on Sunday.


At Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, Ont.

Produced by LagunArte, Basque, France.

For children 9 months to 5 years.

Children are ushered into a dimly lit room with warm light emanating from the stage. Performer Kristof Hiriart is already on stage making sounds with a strange stringed instrument that rests on the side of his mouth as he taps the string. He segues into making other sounds with his mouth, speaks a kind of gibberish that almost sounds like language, and creates rhythmic sounds tapping the many and various jars, glasses, containers and jugs around him. He also uses jam jars. He dips a finger into a jar and noisily licks each finger. The children are mesmerized.

Flying Hearts

At the Wychwood Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Created by Michelle Silagy and Lynda Hill Theatre Direct. (Toronto, Ont.)

Directed by Lynda Hill

Original music composed and performed by Cathy Nosaty

Set by Jung Hye Kim

Costumes by Jennifer Dallas

Lighting by Jennifer Lennon

Performers: Jessica Rung and Tylee Jones with Emma Zabloski

For children 2 years old and older.

This is a charming dance/theatre piece incorporating sounds, and textures of earth, water, air and light. The children sit on a green ‘grass’ covering around the playing area while two engaging performers (Jessica Rung and Tylee Jones) dance around the space, float soft materials, feathers, etc. in the air making patterns that captivate their young audience. Light mists of water are gently sprayed above the heads of the audience as they experience the delicate droplets of water. Other times both performers blow bubbles above the audience’s heads as the young people gently grab at the bubbles. There is a show of stars above them. Music is provided by Cathy Nosaty who weaves in and out of the action playing her original compositions on various instruments.

Before the show, on a table in the lobby, the young audience is invited to dip their hands in a bowl of magic ‘gooy sand,’ play with a feather boa, draw and drag their hands in a sculpture made of flexible, soft spokes in preparation for the show inside. Wonderful.

SSST! Secrets of a White Rabbit

At Factory Theatre, Toronto, Ont,.

For children 2 to 5 years of age.

 Idea, scenography, objects, play, performed: Michael Döhnert and Melanie Florschütz (Germany)

Music by Michael Döhnert

Costumes by Adelheid Wieser

He (Michael Döhnert) wears a jacket over an undershirt and work pants with pockets. He is serious.  She (Melanie Florschütz) wears a bowler hat, a simple top with Pantaloon pants with deep pockets. She is impish and playful.

He plays the guitar and sings. He pulls a miniature ladder, chair and table out of his collection of stuff to use.  She has her hands in her pockets and they seem to be magic pockets that puff out as if something is in them.  Bits of material peek out from the pockets. She pulls one end of the material out of the right pocket and pulls the material out of the left pocket. Left, right, left the material is pulled as if both ends are connected.  Then she pulls a wonderful white cloth rabbit out of one pocket, at least it looks like material. It could also be some kind of origami structure but malleable like cloth. The rabbit is flexible, quirky and funny. He and she never talk. They communicate with looks, short hand and raised eyebrows. Again, the action is sweet, funny and imaginative.  And the kids love it.


At the Small World Music Centre, Toronto, Ont.

Magnet Theatre, South Africa

Created by Magnet Early Years Theatre Company

Directed by Jennie Reznek

Lighting by Themba Stewart

Created by the company

Designed by Asiphe Lili

For children 2 -5 years old.

From the good people who also created the wonderful show, Scoop, for infants 6 weeks old to 12 months old.

Knock  explores the creative possibilities of forest wood. The young audience sits on cushions close to the playing area. Different pieces of wood in various shapes are placed along the edge of the playing space. Four performers makes various sounds by tapping various parts of their bodies. A rhythm results. The children are invited to clap, tap and repeat the rhythm.

Rectangles of wood are given to each member of the audience who are invited to knock, bang and tap along with the performers. Petals of thin paper is thrown in the air and cascades down like disks of snow. The children are invited on stage to play with all the bits and piece of wood that were used during the show. The four performers engage directly with these wee members of the audience. One built a castle of blocks. One joined bits of wood to make a formation. Others did their own thing. When playtime was finished one of the performers asked all the kids to help clean up and they did, quietly, efficiently and with out fuss. Terrifc.

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