REVIEW – Cerita Anak (Child’s Story), The West Australian, 24 February 2018
Written by Simon and Rosanna Collins
The sea was angry that day, my friends. Our little fishing boat was tossed on the churning Java Sea, we were thrown to the bottom of the ocean – where we discovered some weird and wonderful sea creatures – but managed to find a safe harbor.
All in a one-hour tour (a one-hour tour).
Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) is the inspiring creation of Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre, who developed the charming production with children from a fishing village in Indonesia.
The show, aimed at kids aged two to seven (and their parents), combines puppetry, shadow images, projections, sound and good old-fashioned craft. Oh and the audience, who should pack their imagination and childlike wonder.
After taking our shoes off in a crowded room with the other mums, dads and kids, we drew some fish and other aquatic creatures which were then (carefully) cut out and placed in a cane basket.
Then we entered the main theatre, where our boat sat.
We launched and soon found a good spot to fish. Rosanna, three, caught a big, weird-looking fish and a couple of crabs. Thunder! Lightning!
The rods were quickly packed away as the sea – a billowing blue silk – began to rise. We hung on tight only for the salty water to envelop our boat.
Down we went, down, down…past the jellyfish and the giant stingray. In the darkness, we discovered all manner of deep-sea monsters (and got to project a few of our own on to the sheets surrounding the ‘boat’).
We resurfaced in a harbor surrounded by little paper boats, and what’s that?
Brave Rosie did not even wait for our crew to build the bridge to get her feet back on dry land.
And she was glad to see the other boats had also survived the storm. Some parents shed tears of sweet relief.
Well, not relief, more a sudden emotional overflow thanks to the sheer beauty, and interactive fun, of this simple yet superbly executed production.
Sea for yourself.
Cerita Anak is on until tomorrow. Details at perthfestival.com.au.
Photography: Toni Wilkinson