Segerstrom always provides interesting entertainment for all ages, but specifically families. As a parent, I always look for ways to get my kid away from the television and the Xbox and expose her to new experiences. Segerstrom’s Family Series brings a world of fantasy and simple storytelling to kids of all ages.
Based on the novel Manxmouse by Paul Gallico, Theatergroep Kwatta performs the delightful tale of Manxmouse: The Mouse Who Knew No Fear. Theatergroep Kwatta is making its North American debut at Segerstrom Center for the Arts October 18 & 19 in Samueli Theater.
The Story Of Manxmouse: The Mouse That Knew No Fear centers around a unique mouse named Manxmouse. Created through the imagination of the local village potter, Manxmouse magically comes to life and encounters animals and people in this town. Everyone loves Manxmouse, but everyone knows his ultimate destiny. His ultimate “doom” is to be dinner for Manxcat.
His first encounter is with a clutterbumph, the mysterious creature that lives under your bed at night. Because Manxmouse is a recent creation on a potter’s table and not born into a family, he does not understand concepts such as love, friendship and fear. The clutterbumph tries to scare him but because Manxmouse does not understand concepts such as fear. The clutterbumph is just an interesting new friend to Manxmouse.
Manxmouse adventure leads his to meet and encounter new things. He then meets a crow, a frog, a little girl, an eagle a taxi driver and pet store owners. All who grow to become friends with Manxmouse, but also are quick to remind him of his destiny.
This production of Manxmouse comes from a team of actors/storytellers/puppeteers who form the Netherlands called Theatergroep Kwatta. These four talented actors are Remco Melles, Siem van Leeuwen, Hans Thissen and Steven Stavast. The performance takes placed in a warehouse with four large shelving units and boxes. The actors are the warehouse workers and the show starts with them working at the start of the day. The sequence features a little bit of slapstick and clearly defines the status of each worker to one another.
At lunch, the four workers sit at a table and the youngest of them is reading a book, coincidentally called Manxmouse: The Mouse That Knew No Fear. As the worker reads the book aloud, magically the other workers know the tale word for word from the book and now the adventure beings. Using various office and warehouse props the four actors visually telling the story of Manxmouse.
The large Manxmouse plush is controlled by two actors. Another actor transforms a trash can into a frog. The end of a mop is used for the long hair for the part of a little girl. Longs rolls of brown butcher paper transform one actor into an eagle and a hand truck and box is used to create a makeshift taxi cab. My daughter soon learned that she doesn’t need elaborate paint or even a professional theater, but she can use everyday household items to tell a story visually.
The play is part of Segerstrom’s family friendly programs, but it is for children. Getting my daughter to see a puppet show was a tough sell. For the average hyper-stimulated child of this age, but the actors smartly managed to create enough visual moments and perfect pacing throughout the story to hold the attention of the 7 to 10-year-old audience.
Because the troupe is from the Netherlands, their English was good but very deliberate. When I have conversations with people from foreign countries, their English uses simple words to communicate. Almost too simple. This manner of speaking may not work long in a warehouse job but works perfectly when communicating with children.
It’s never too late to introduce your children to new forms of creative and innovative storytelling and Segerstrom’s Family Series is the perfect place to find it.