Fringe Talk Day Twenty-six
Kids Comedy Theatresports + Fabricate - Tuesday 26th September
There’s nothing like the apprehension of a very small audience, waiting for an improv show. I’m the only person in the second row. Seated in the first row are two adults dotted between five primary-aged children. We’re later joined by another adult and two children, who sit in the third row (I’m still mildly offended that they chose to disregard my friendly wave to join me in the second row – brutal).
Despite being rejected by a couple of ten-year-olds, I enjoy Improv Australia’s Kids Comedy Theatresports immensely. My initial apprehension proves totally unnecessary, as I have clearly forgotten the secret weapon against small-audience silence; the uninhibited perfection of childhood.
The show begins with an explanation of blocking, with improv champions Kate Coates and Pat Magee demonstrating what happens when you ‘say no’. From Pat’s very first “No”, the kids are giggling like mad, reveling in the audacity of it all. It only gets better, with front-rowers passing the ‘long arms’ test and being selected throughout the show to add their ideas, their flare and indeed, their arms, to create something spontaneous and hilarious.
Not all the kids are quite so confident, with a tragic moment occurring when a shy girl is successfully encouraged to take part in a large group activity, moving boldly to the stage space - only to swiftly retreat to the safety of the third row as soon as the action begins. But proverbial shells aside, there is something entirely magical about watching fresh and intuitively creative minds practising the skills of listening, accepting and co-constructing, and above all, relishing a space where Imagination is King.
Later, I find myself sitting on a bleacher in the cavernous HPG Hub, everything tinged with soft, blue light and melodic beats drifting over the empty stage. Four white balls of string lie at the base of the concrete wall, their ends tethered to hooks above. The seat is cold. The blue lights go out.
A dancer enters the space. She picks up one of the balls of string and begins slowly unravelling, anchoring to the floor, to the wall and back to the floor. Three more enter, taking up the other balls of string. We watch a web form slowly, deliberately. Then the dancing begins.
Four bodies roll and unfurl as they make and unmake themselves. Flowing sequences intertwine with abrupt stillness, the insistent music willing movement from the prison of a halted shape, the struggle between sense and form. A dancer stands in the middle of the space and starts pulling string slowly from her own mouth, dripping it onto the floor in a spiralled heap, as the other three shift and weave around her. Webs are tangled and untangled, with string handed across audience members to form a living web, vibrating with the soft brushing of a foot, a ribcage, a forearm, as a dancer swivels, sweeps and rises between the taught lines. We are mesmerised by Fabricate, until one cradles the mass of collapsed yarn and three reach in for desperate threads, slowly stuffing them into their mouths; devouring the very world they created.
This Fringe season, I have been privileged to see so many different pieces of art and performance, from wigs and stand-up comedy, to activist theatre and original musicals, to children’s workshops and limber performance art. So many warm, theatrical kisses to prompt the mind and feed the soul – it’s been an absolute dream. Thanks for having me, over and out.
[The countdown is on - that's Genevieve's last post for this Fringe. Tomorrow join Rebecca and James as they wander through the Library of Babel]
Written by Genevieve De Souza