Our group – Grodzki Theatre Junior has been in existence since 2003. But only this year we decided to create a play specifically for children, even though we specialize in puppetry art, traditionally recognized as children`s theatre. So, I question myself (the leader of the group): what kept me away from kids in the audience? Perhaps, the main reason was my own fear that they would not get the message we wanted to convey. But, finally, here it comes: “TWO-HEADED DRAGONS” performance, premiered in May 2014. Without words but with the final song translated into sign language (deaf and hard-of-hearing persons constitute half of our group). It was created as part of the “Grey matters” project, co-funded by European Commission (Grundtvig Partnerships Program). We performed it quite a few times already and it seems that children do enjoy it. And how about their understanding of the moral? Well, when I asked them about the number of dragons on stage, most of them answered: four. But in fact there were only two dragons with two heads each! Mail (green and silver heads) and female (red and yellow heads).
Still, I think that the core of the problem was clear for the young audience. First of all they liked our big and colored puppets – their attention was immediately caught. Secondly, the plot was very simple and based on conflicting characters of the main heroes, so kids were able to understand what was going on. And thirdly, we provided the audience with some additional explanation on our point of view through the inscriptions painted on cardboard charts:
GREEN + RED = BIG TROUBLE
YELLOW + SILVER = MUCH BIGGER TROUBLE
SILVER + RED AND YELLOW + GREEN = GREAT LOVE!!!
LET`S ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE RIGHT COLOR!
Are these three factors: attractive scenery, lively action and focus on clarity of the message a core part of recipe for a good children`s show? And what are the other “ingredients”?