Alison Garrigan, Executive Artistic Director of Talespinner Children’s Theatre talks “Fire on the Water”

ali-garrigan“Being a children’s theatre, we wanted to give the subject a child’s (or child-like) perspective.  As an artistic unit, our team sat down and went over the subject matter from an historical point of view, and then looked at how people had always reacted to the burning of the river.  We realized that there was a perception that was possible that people concentrated more on the fire’s damage than on cleaning the water itself.  So we began with that kernel, and added the element of innocence and loss that a child feels when adults don’t truly understand what is at the heart of a problem they are experiencing.  As the work progressed, the team added in the elements that trademark a TCT show—masks to represent both children and adults, puppets to represent the “crowd,” and movement and dance. Then, as TCT does, we looked to the cultures that honor the elements, and added Native American elements to the piece—namely, in this case, the music that is used to evoke water and fire.  Children see so many things that we don’t, and so often have a hard time getting adults to truly listen to what they are trying to tell them, and our piece, ELEMENTARY, deals with that take on the subject of Fire on the Water.  One of the things that I love the most about our piece is that it truly is a combination of ideas from each and every member of the TCT ensemble that created it.”