Oct 7, 2009

You Know, For Kids

Spent the day yesterday at the New Victory's informative forum on children's theater, with special guests from Edinburgh's leading-edge Imaginate festival exchanging ideas and contacts with stateside artists and educators. I was struck above all by how the Scots' motivation was more toward artistic expression than education, a point beautifully proven by Andy Manley's deft, disarming show for under-threes, My House, and even more exquisitely demonstrated by Puppet State's The Man Who Planted Trees, which on its face couldn't be a more didactic environmental fable but which in performance plays like the best sort of three-dimensional story theater; the impulse to tell the story is inextricably bound up in its execution, and it doesn't feel like it's meeting any kind of externally imposed instructional mandate. It reminded of a Kurosawa quote I came across recently, in which he said of noh theater, "The style and the story are one." In short, I was enchanted, and if you've got a young one--the recommended age for Man Who is 7 and up--I'd hurry to the New Victory posthaste.

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