Once more we were invited to the premiere of Theatre Antidote's newest production. It's advertised as a play for young children, ages 2-9. The blurb describes it as being about imagining: a man is packing up his house to move, and a child decides to explore the contents of a box.
I wasn't sure what to expect at all. The theatre was fairly full, with a good number of young children sitting at the front, but not packed completely. For about twenty minutes after sitting down we were entertained by the two musicians in the play, on violin and accordion As with most Cyprus productions, the show itself actually started about fifteen minutes late.
Right from the start, I was captivated. Xenakis, co-owner of Antidote, and director of this play, had the part of the man packing up the box at the beginning and end. He was dressed as a workman, and set the scene extremely well, all in mime. There was quite a selection of items to be put in the large box he produced, including this ancient gramophone:
The part of the little girl was played by Catherine, the other owner of Antidote. This was slightly confusing as she arrived in high heels, looking like an elderly lady, but perhaps that was intentional.
There's a lot of humour in the early part of the play as items emerge from the box (cleverly designed with a flap that allows items, and indeed people, to appear in or disappear from the box, through the curtains behind, without being seen). This shot shows a snake - on the end of someone's arm - trying to read a story book. There's no actual language used - just noises that express clearly what's intended, without having to worry about whether the audience is Greek or English! The musicians at the side of the stage accompany most of the play.
Eventually the little girl works out how to get other people to appear, and she's joined by Andrei and Korina, playing the part of an Italian couple who attempt to produce some music. There are some extremely funny scenes, most of which I wasn't expecting at all. Again there is no actual dialogue, although there's a lot of talking in a sort of pseudo-Italian, with a few recognisable words such as 'concerto'. It's very clever, and works effectively.
The play lasted just over an hour, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone other than a couple of very small children (perhaps 18 months or two years) who were frightened by the snake and some of the more dramatic music. I think age 2 is perhaps a bit over-young for this kind of thing, but children of about three or four were captivated, as were much older children and adults.
It's showing in various place around the island in the next couple of months; I recommend it highly.