WHAT MIGHT WE EXPECT FROM THE SHOW?
I’d say it will be a lot of fun. It’s got this undercurrent about the weather, and of course we can’t ignore what’s happening to the world and to the weather - but I don’t think that’s what we want to explore. The way we see the show is that it’s a play on words, or a play on images. It’s about the language and objects sometimes not making complete sense together, but of course they always make sense.
One of the focuses is about play, and playing with objects, and reimagining what an object can be. We played this game the other day with a stick where the stick became a cricket bat or a tennis racket; that one object had a completely different set of scenarios around it - an interpretation of an image and a multiplicity of ideas of what it could be. We then repeated the activity using movement instead of objects, starting with a gesture like a wave that could then become something bigger like fanning yourself because you’re hot, and then the fan becomes a kind of rain dance. So we see someone doing an action but then make it bigger and make it into something else. So it’s playing around with and reinterpreting physical language, which is the basis of the show so far.
YOUR PREVIOUS SHOWS HAVE BEEN FOR ADULTS; YOU DON’T NORMALLY MAKE WORK FOR CHILDREN, DO YOU?
We’ve never made a show specifically for a younger age group. We think that our theatre shows have been quite accessible to children, because they are generally quite visual and allow scope for ideas and imagination rather than narrative-based story or complicated psychologically based characters.
It’s more about an energy or a feeling as the emotional route through the work, and often it’s focused around task: the task to build this, or the task to destroy that. So our work is quite open to a wider age range.
HOW MUCH DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM WATCHING YOUR DAUGHTER? OR IS THIS THE KIND OF PLAYFUL APPROACH YOU TEND TO USE WHEN MAKING THEATRE?
A bit of both! I trained as a visual artist, and what has been brilliant about having a child is going back to some of those simple drawing techniques I learnt when I was a student: simple things like squeezing paint onto a piece of paper, folding it over and getting a butterfly.
We’ve got a table in the kitchen and underneath it there’s an outline of my daughter Charlie. We take the top off every now and again and do another outline. It’s a bit like a tree ring; that’s a really nice little project in itself. She’s testing me as a young person to make new things. I’ll be busy this afternoon making a little table out of some wood for her doll, and making a little chair! It was Charlie jumping in the puddle and me joining in, and enjoying that process and allowing myself to enjoy it. I enjoy playing with that age group, they’re liberated at that age.
Image: It's Hot, It's Not (That's Mole in the yellow raincoat!)
WILL THE SHOW TOUCH ON CLIMATE CHANGE?
It’s felt like spring is tending to happen earlier and there are freaky weather conditions. That’s what drew me to making a show about the weather and our confusion with that, and nature’s confusion with that. Daffodils are coming up much earlier than they used to. It’s those things that really struck me as something we needed to tackle and that can be extended to talk about global warming, without talking about global warming.
I think what we try to do as a company is open up an idea for imagination to grow – we never go “This show is about this”, in doing that, it kills that possibility of growth of imagination. We call it the playground of the imagination: not just for us, the people making the show, but for the people we are sharing the room with.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU WILL USE SOUND AND FOLEY?
The set will be a big tree, or trunk, with apples on strings; some of them will be switches, and if you pull an apple, it might switch a light on. Pull another apple and it might start a rain storm, pull another apple and get sound – it could be a thunder storm. So we want to play with how sounds makes an action, makes a sound, makes an action. It’s accumulative. Someone comes in and switches the light on because it’s dark, and I switch it back off, they switch it on, I switch it off, switch it on, switch it off... It’s that repetitive action; if someone jumps in a puddle when they are four years old they don’t want to leave it. It’s like with my daughter – I switch the light off, she turns it on. I switch the light off...
It's Hot, It's Not is for ages 2 - 5 and plays from 2 Feb - 10 Mar. Tickets are £10 - £16. Visit the webpage for more info and to book.
This interview exceprt is taken from our It's Hot, It's Not teacher resource pack. The full interview and other resources can be read below: