Created by SpudPuppy Productions, I'm a Raindrop Get Me Outta Here! is an original work that aims to educate children and adults alike about the impact history has had on our precious resource that is water.
Performed by three incredibly talented physical actors: Tessa Luminati, Stephanie Beza and Nicola Pohl, who also share writing credits with lighting designer/technical director Patrick Hill and sound designer Oliver Cohen; this show is currently being performed at the Motley Bauhaus in Carlton, Victoria.
The show begins with Pohl exploding onto the stage, a raindrop who is lost, scared and practically crashing into every wall of the stage. This caused absolutely explosive laughter for 5 minutes straight from my very handsome date - a 6 year old boy named Gus (not his real name). Eventually Pohl is joined by Luminati and Beza, all with very distinct personalities and problems to solve. Together, these three raindrops (named Reef, Millie and Rocio) take us on an adventure through time: Cavemen who poop on berries, Miners who bathe in money and a digestive system that well...poops. Safe to say, little Gus was delighted anytime said poop became a feature of the story and for that, he would gladly give this show five poopy stars.
Marketed as "theatre to educate, enlighten and entertain children and adults alike", Raindrop feels a little stuck between wanting to be an edgy political Fringe show - complete with a visit from the voice-of-reason of a very familiar looking Prime Minister; and wanting to be a fun an educational romp for young children. When it comes to theatre for children, there are perhaps three essential elements to consider:
1) Visual Stimulus: Kids love colour, light, costumes, props and silliness.
2) Repetition and Themes: Nothing like a short little ditty that repeats over and over again - especially if it has actions.
3) Attention Span: Children can only concentrate for so long. So keep things short and to the point.
Visually Raindrop is very, very dark. Literally. Backed by a very small projection of various landscapes on a gigantic white cyc (sheet), there is next to no other lighting provided for 90% of the show. This means that for the most part, unless the actors are standing directly in front of the projection, they are in the dark. The very few moments where the lights do turn on are such relief, but only short lived before lighting is sacrificed for the sake of a small projected image. The need for a clear establishment of time and place could be better created via the use of physical props - ie. a stack of boxes for a mountain or a pile of sticks for a caveman 'fire'. Not only would this mean an overall brighter show, but the addition of such 'silly' props and set pieces would make for a more visually engaging show. This is particularly necessary when the scenes are dialogue-heavy or get heavily political.
In the first and last scene, there are two different but fantastic little songs. The first being a simplified song about the water cycle (complete with actions) and the latter about listening to our inner voices and sharing it with our friends. What lays between these two songs, is about 50 minutes of dialogue. Some vague references are made back to the actions of the first song, though musically it never returns. The song was so great, and Gus really got on board with the actions - the show would do well to keep throwing back to the song or even build on it throughout the show. Kids generally love singing and dancing, and it's a great way to keep them engaged.
As a show for "children", the length of the show poses a problem. An hour of watching a show that is basically performed in darkness with very little visual stimulus outside the brilliance of the actors themselves, is tough. As an adult, this makes it quite difficult to stay engaged the entire time, let alone for a six year old.
Back to the good bits: there are some brilliant moments of physical theatre - special shout out to the dinosaur and (I can't believe I'm saying this) the poop sequence. This show has so much potential to be a fantastic 30 minute highly engaging and educational piece of theatre for kids. The songs are catchy, the actors are brilliant, it just now needs lights and some trimming down of dialogue.
I'm a Raindrop, Get Me Outta Here! is being performed at the Motley Bauhaus until the 30th of September. Tickets can be found here