Friday, November 8, 2013

"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" Comes to Life (Live Storytelling. With Paint! You Gotta See the Video - Just Amazing)

Being performed this weekend at the Sydney Opera House (in Australia) is a live storytelling - in words and paint (!) - of The Steadfast Tin Soldier by the German puppetry company Thalias Kompagnons. Instead of just using puppets though, this time around, the main storytelling medium is paint. Real, drippy, wet, squishy, live, colorful and amazing paint. This is the art of storytelling with Art!

I dearly wish I could take my son to see this. Actually, since I'm trying to incorporate a little storytelling in as I teach Art Appreciation to my son's class, this would be perfect to take all the kids to. (If we didn't have to pay for 26 return tickets to Oz, that is.) This would be a perfect introduction to the power of painting and art, as well as be an incredibly dynamic way to hear/see experience a fairy tale coming to life and discover the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. 

Although it's obviously a poor substitute for the live performance, there is a video, showing some of how the story is told. Take a look - it's quite amazing (and now I want to go paint!):

I get the strong feeling Hans Andersen would have LOVED this!

The promotional material about the performance reads:

In this delightful and imaginative retelling of the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale, our storyteller brings The Steadfast Tin Soldier to life with his vigorous live-painting techniques. 
On a large clear canvas, the story unfolds as a child’s nursery is sketched, coloured and painted. It’s here that the tin soldier steps out of line and falls in love with the tissue paper ballerina.  But all too soon, the peaceful scene is interrupted by the red goblin, and as the colours begin to fly, the adventure begins! 

In this unique performance, German company Thalias Kompagnons creates a joyful introduction to the creative techniques of both modern painting and live theatre. Enthralling, exciting and not always neat and tidy, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is sure to inspire the artist in all of us! 
On the company website I found this summary of the play, which explains why they chose live art-in-the-making as the medium for this performance:

On the play

Painting is the art form which seems to be closest to children. They pick up crayons naturally and start using them, creating their own world, filled with a great variety of things. Who would not want to join them in this sphere of dreams?

The fairy tale painter sketches a large nursery, decorating it with wondrous toys and figures. But as happens in painting – the image starts to develop its own life. Here a tin soldier who is the worse for wear steps out of line and falls in love with the tissue paper ballerina. The red goblin interferes. The image comes apart at the seams. Will the painter be steadfast and, together with the tin soldier, find a new path back to beauty?

A joyful introduction to the creative techniques of modern painting which is not always neat and tidy.

With his painted theatre productions, Joachim Torbahn has succeeded in creating an internationally admired novel synthesis between visual art and the theatre. He was invited to perform his homage to Paul Klee "What does Red do on Thursdays?" for children over four, at many festivals, including productions in Italy, Slovenia, Finland, Hungary, Russia, Corea, Japan and Australia.
As you might expect - the reviews are excellent. You can find more information about the company and the sort of shows they have HERE and read some of the reviews there too.
For those lucky enough to be local, you can find more information about times and tickets (which are very reasonably priced) HERE.
The presentation reminds me of seeing shows in shopping centers and malls when I was just beginning "big school" - a wonderful way to introduce the public to the power of storytelling and theater - and of turning up to dark mysterious theaters with no idea what I would see, only to be thoroughly entranced by what followed. Those experiences marked me for life in the best way and I wish there were more traveling and available I could take my son to experience (he's just started "big school" this year so it's very much on my mind).
Maybe one day there will be enough Once Upon A Blog readers in close proximity that we could actually put together something amazing ourselves (to be filed under "Big Dreams I Will Never Give Up On").

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