HBrilliant the Dinosaur

August 13, 2008

After all the preparation, Whirlwind is staging the first night of Brilliant the Dinosaur at 6.30 this evening. I’ve escaped to write this. Need to return soon.

On monday evening, the adult actors played a game. All of us were on stage. In the middle was someone who was reading his/her lines. the rest of us kept throwing a ball around. If the actor in the centre caught the ball, the last person to throw would go to centre and start reciting lines. My throw was caught and I went to centre. They did make a concession for me, the ball was rolled when I was reciting my lines. Which meant we all had to crouch on the floor. It was fun reading the lines and suddenly realising that the ball had just whizzed between my legs. But I learned fast that unless I actually caught the ball, I’d be there till … Perhaps we’d still have been on stage now.

Anyway, I wasn’t bad at catching the ball when it was thrown around. But I learned other things too.

“Llanfairpwllgwyngwllgogerychwrndrobwlchllantysiliogogogoch”.

That’s the longest name of a town in the world, (as far as we know) I’ve often heard this Welsh town talked about, but finally, on the braille copy of my script, there it was for me to read. I never did learn to pronounce it. We all thought it would be too difficult for the children and Kyle, (one of the adult actors was given the task. It’s a rousing number with the great chorus, “we’ve done a project on it” all about the many school projects you could possibly do. The song, like most school projects sounds simple, but like all school projects, as you get into it, you realise it’s actually quite difficult. But the kids (we’re supposed to call them children) proved that when you tell someone not to do something, they actually do it. They mastered the word, and now we’re having to stop them singing along to it on stage. A resourceful child even found out the meaning of the sentence. Something about the place by the church of ST Mary … and so on and so forth.

It’s interesting, the story of a dinosaur who’s been asleep for 65 million years. His brain is the size of a pea, but as he sings at the top of his voice, it wasn’t the brain that kept him alive, but his heart, which is the size of a cow. The other thing we learned about the heart is that the brain is good for science, figures, facts and all that sort of thing, but things like beauty, patience, love and fear, when to smile, when to shed a tear, etc are for the heart.

Just before we left for the big break, I told the children how much I was looking forward to the evening, and how I expected them to put on the best show possible. If you’d asked me on Monday, I wouldn’t have been that sure. We’d moved from the rehearsal venue, (Christians alive, another church in Lancaster) to King’s, where we’re staging the show. Maybe the new venue phased the children, but nobody got a star on Monday. Everyone just lacked focus. But something about Wednesday morning stirred them again. Everyone knew that this was the last rehearsal, and everyone did brilliant.

Oh that’s the name of the dinosaur. Actually, do you know why he is called brilliant. He’s been discovered. When a child says they’re frightened, he repeats the word. Actually he repeats that word several times, until a child says he’s come with ‘peaceful’ intent. When the dinosaur repeats ‘peaceful’ everyone shouts ‘brilliant’ and of course, dinosaur on cue repeats ‘Brilliant’. I suppose the children couldn’t name their new discovery ‘frightened’ could they?

They’re waiting for me now, I’d better go. If you’re in town, come see us, it’s a fantastic show for children, but it has some grown up themes as well, like care for the environment, etc.