Brilliant the Dinosaur

July 31, 2008

Whirlwind is back for summer. On Monday, over 40 children began rehearsals. Which means the actors had been together for a week by then.

As usual, there are already changes. I think we have the largest number of children, (I believe there are 41) but there are changes in the adult staff too. Mike and Myette still have overall control, but Cheryl who has direct supervisory responsibility for the children isn’t here this year. We have Becky who is already doing an excellent job. Saskya, Myette’s sister, and an ex-student of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts has been stage manager for as long as I know, but this year, she’s stage managing some posh production somewhere. This year, we have the pleasure of Izzy, a recent graduate of the Signet. incidentally, that was where Myette studied, and Alisdair who has directed the show on several occasions heads the school. Same actors this year, except for Tom, who is in Edinburgh for the festival. Instead, we have Andy, who has brought some new ideas and is already a hit with the children.

Hey! This is about Brilliant the dinosaur, isn’t it? That’s what happens in the play as well. You’d think that as it’s titled Brilliant the dinosaur, he’d be out from the beginning and leave a superhero at the end. Actually, he doesn’t appear until we’re nearing the interval. I can think of at least three reasons why. First, with a brain the size of a pea, he’d have very little to contribute. Second at 30 metres long, he’d probably be too unwieldy and third, it is a story, more about his effect on a family, than about him. He does become a superhero, because hen he is … (I’d better stop there before I give the plot away.

It’s a children’s story, but it’s got depth. It’s set in the future, and for that reason can examine such current trends as global warming, the environment, and working practices in the future. Dad works from home on a computer, but more worrying, there are hurricanes in England. It’s one of these that cracks a cave open and reveals a diplodocus that’s been asleep for 65 million years. The children grow to love him, but their parents are afraid of such a huge creature they’ve never seen before. That’s all I’m saying.Come to King’s Community Church from Wednesday 13th to Friday 15th at 7.30 PM. There’s an extra production on Thursday 14th at 2.30 PM.

You’ll see as usual, an excellent show, but you won’t know what preparations have gone into taking children who have not been auditioned, and turning them into professional actors within 3 weeks. Actually, some of them have been doing Whirlwind for several years now, but there are several new faces. One or two apeared for the April week and liked it so much they came back. Some have never been at all.

I’m running late. Have to be there at 8.45, and a morning of warm up exercises, rehearsals, group work etc awaits. One of my greatest joys this year was a first timer who burst into tears on arrival on Monday. He’d apparently had a change of heart. I was called to have a chat. I suggested that he try it for a day and see how he feels. He’s loving it now. Some of them have one form of disability or another. It’s inclusive theatre, no discrimination. All must play some part, even if it’s moving props around. Most manage to say a line or two, even the 6 year olds.

At this rate, I’ll spend so much time talking about this that I’ll be late. More later.

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