STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fusion Theatre have created a piece of theatre that brings Stories from Around the World together, from Brazil to Bali and on to further shores. Creepy crawlies, wicked witches, armies of monkeys and gods from the sea; this production explores oceans, jungles and ancient ruins. These adventures can be found at their performance at the Cockpit Theatre this Saturday, 22nd July at 2pm. We got the scoop on where Fusion began, why these actors love to work with children and some top tips on performing physical theatre.
Katie Merrit, Founder and Director of Fusion Theatre told Scatter where the name for Fusion began. ‘It was a tricky decision to make, with the entirety of the English language at my disposal! At one point, we were sat with a dictionary trawling through different obscure words to make the name sound edgy and interesting. However, we always kept coming back to the idea that the name should reflect the type of work we make. Our work combines theatre with different cultures, languages and traditions to entertain, educate and enhance our understanding of the world we live in. We seek to innovate and create new and exciting ways of creating theatre and merging different elements together. Hence the name Fusion was born’. Fusion Theatre’s main ambition is to produce quality children’s theatre shows, with an educational message, using innovative theatre techniques to give children access to the professional arts. They always aim to create positive and memorable experiences.
An original list of stories compiled for the show came to a whopping 15 tales! Katie Merrit and co-writer David Jackson re-wrote all of them, thinking about which plot lines could work best within the context and which had the potential to be the funniest. ‘After lots of coffee and even more laughter, we finally got to what we believe are the best three stories, from Brazil, Bali and England’. As a director, Katie’s top tip for creating a children’s production is ‘don’t patronise them. It is easy to fall in to a certain way of speaking to children within performance. But it isn’t necessary. They will be able to understand what you are saying; you don’t need to say it in a baby voice. If you are playing a 20- legged spider from Mars, be the best 20-legged spider from Mars you can be, without dumbing it down for their benefit’. Katie also reminded us to ‘be naughty. We all love silly jokes. But no one loves them more than children. Guaranteed, if you have a line that says ‘Stinky bum’, you will have them rolling in the aisles. Embrace it and use it’. Always thinking outside the box, Fusion Theatre mesmerise, inspire and amaze their audience, making their performances colourful, big and bubbly – letting their imaginations go wild.
Meet the Cast of Stories from Around the World….
Pablo Woodward AKA Disco Bunny
Pablo’s favourite character to play in the show is King Arthur, ‘he’s a complete fop, ever so serious, has no sense of humour, and really doesn’t get any jokes. As result he doesn’t think he’s funny at all, but I think he’s hilarious’! Pablo loves physical theatre and believes there is no such thing as giving a scene too much energy, ‘plus it’s a great workout – better than the gym’! The best part about working with children, for Pablo, is ‘when you hear them all laugh so much they actually Roll On The Floor Laughing!! Pablo’s favourite book as a child was The Jungle Book. ‘It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me singalong…. in fact it still does’.
The quartermaster is Orla’s favourite character to play, without a doubt because he is so much fun, with lots of physicality and mumbling communications. Using the body to tell a story is hugely imported, another way to communicate with people above voice. It’s a great way to get the audience to use their imagination. For Orla ‘physical theatre is like playing a piece of music, finding new tunes’. Orla’s favourite tale as a child was Roald Dahl’s The Witches, because ‘it’s a little bit scary and loved the image of the witches stealing’.
Tanya loves playing the lovable buffoon, Francesca in Stories from Around the World. At the age of 26, Francesca still doesn’t know how to tie her own shoe laces! It’s time to get out and explore the world. As a fidget bum herself, Tanya loves physical theatre because she can’t keep still, she says her ‘facial expressions have a mind of their own, so for me, physical theatre is the best playground’. The most enjoyable part of working with children for Tanya is their wonderful positivity, always ready to say yes to the next adventure. ‘Children are honest and refreshingly uninhibited’. Tanya’s favourite story as a child is the charming Bedknobs and Broomsticks, ‘I love all of those stories, full of witches and magic’.
Christopher is playing Captain James Cook! He loves playing this character as he is bursting with the thirst to explore and encompasses a sense of adventure. ‘Captain Cook always needs high energy, plenty of animated facial expressions and presence over his crazy crew. I’d want to go on adventures with this guy every day’! Physical Theatre is top of Christopher’s list because ‘The body is capable of creating so many wonderful shapes and pictures. All you need is a bit of imagination and heaps of energy and your body can be molded into just about anything’. He loves the limitless form of physical theatre and how it can be beautifully chaotic and endlessly awe-inspiring to witness. Christopher loves how unpredictable children can be, ‘You never know what they are going to do next! They keep you on your toes with surprises and creativity and that spontaneity makes them endlessly fun to interact with. The thought that a character I created might one day be enjoyed by a child and end up on a drawing stuck to the door of a kitchen fridge is beautifully rewarding and keeps me coming back for more shows with children at the heart.’ Christopher’s favourite series of stories when he was a child were the Mr Men/Little Miss books, ‘I wanted to be like Mr Strong, I marvelled at the size of Mr Nosey’s nose and laughed as Mr Tickle’s arms came leaping off the page to tickle me’. He loved the variety of characters, and thinks it’s probably why he loves character acting so much now!
Hoping to tour Stories from Around the World internationally, keep a look out for where Fusion Theatre is going next!