Pop! Pop! By Linda A. Carson, with Monica Dufault and Kim Selody
Now onstage at Toronto's Young People's Theatre
Lauren Garbutt Photography
“A magical and mysterious under-the-sea world for the wee ones. Delightful”
In this delightful 45-minute journey undersea, we meet two very different sea creatures, ‘Hide’ and ‘Seek.’ Adorable.
They playfully explore this enchanting new sea world, with many surprises turning up along the way. There is no dialogue in the play - only sounds that make the young audience eager to pay attention, to see and hear what’s happening.
Kelly Wolf’s circular set design incorporates many bright and vibrant colours to capture a young child’s interest. I especially liked the aqua-blue waterfall-like entrance upstage. There are so many colours to see and marvel at on this set. Alexa Fraser’s puppets each have their own unique and distinctive look. The plucky starfish is so darn cute. The manipulation of the shark by the actors as it swims by becomes momentarily mesmerizing to watch. The two actors slowly manipulate it as it goes by the front of the stage. Brad Trenaman’s lighting design uniquely captures the shadowy effects of light upon the water. I especially liked Joe Lapinski’s incorporation of synthesizer music and brief sounds that will most certainly appeal to children.
Director Monica Dufault understands the attention span of young children. She swimmingly keeps the show’s pace moving along thanks to the charming performances of Kaylyn Valdez-Scott as ‘Hide’ and Katherine Cappellaci as ‘Seek.’ They are agile and flexible, moving around the stage with grace and dexterity. They listen to each other, watch, and respond naturally while never upstaging the other. Valdez-Scott hides in one of the objects onstage when we first see her, and I was impressed at how she could contort her physical stance to remain in the object.
I reviewed this show with the young students from a local pre/nursery school in the audience today.
Watching and hearing the children’s responses to the activities on stage was tremendously fun. Valdez-Scott and Cappellaci are very comfortable with young audience members. The two performers are entirely in tune with the kids and their attention spans. They knew to bring the puppets and the action down and centre right to get their attention quickly.
Valdez-Scott and Cappellaci always appear energized and never flustered if the kids become loud in their response. I spoke to them quickly after the show, and they both said how much they wished the kids would have been a bit louder. Valdez-Scott and Cappellaci feed from that connection with the wee ones.
What I respect about the performances at Young People’s Theatre is the commitment to reflecting the 7 Ancestral Teachings in each performance. The two lessons reflected were Humility and Honesty. I credit Dufault for incorporating these lessons subtly in Valdez-Scott and Cappellaci’s performances. They love it when the kids are in the audience.
The show closes this weekend, and I strongly encourage parents to introduce their children to the wonders of the theatre in this 45-minute show format. A wonderful way to get kids interested in the theatre.
Running time: approximately 45 minutes.
The production runs until October 22 upstairs in the Ada Slaight Hall. For information, visit youngpeoplestheatre.org.
A Carousel Players Production
By Linda A. Carson, with Monica Dufault and Kim Selody
Directed by Monica Dufault
Set Designer: Kelly Wolf
Lighting Designer: Brad Teneman
Stage Manager: Sara Allison
Performers: Katherine Cappellaci and Kaylyn Valdez-Scott