On Monday I was fortunate enough to attend a 2 hour session at the beautiful Harris, organised by Earlyarts. (www.earlyarts.co.uk). The session was an opportunity to experience and discuss a beautiful piece of theatre for the very young, by M6 Theatre Company, entitled ‘One Little Word’. (http://www.m6theatre.co.uk/texts/cp4.html).
The show was so simple, with only 2 actors, a few props, beautiful and emotive music and the script contained only one word- ‘sorry’. The story explored the emotions and feelings of two young children, using basic household items to build a boat and play sailors. There were several moments of conflict, when the little girl snatched and pushed the little boy in an attempt to steal the role of captain for herself. The music and facial expressions were brilliant at expressing the emotions of the two children, and eventually the little girl realises that sharing means you can have much more fun playing together. In order to do this, she had to utter that word that is sometimes so hard to say- sorry.
After the show, we had a group discussion with members of the company about why the piece works so well. The absence of language makes this show easily accessible to so many groups and the simple set and props leave no distractions for a very young audience. The show explores the tricky issue of sharing and conflict resolution in an innovative way, that will leave a young audience with plenty of food for thought. The concept of creative play that is so important to DNA, and especially the Imaginary Leaps strand of the company, was present in abundance and the whole piece was an inspiration to all present. This would also be a great show for family groups. I am sure a lot of parents could take ideas from the way the children in the performance play, and even be inspired to unplug their own children from their various pieces of technology when they get home and engage in good old fashioned fun.