At BIG we are interested in a narrative that values irreverent unpredictability as well as invites rigorous, intelligent and imaginative views. As guests of Sydney Opera House, we were lucky enough to see Miss Ophelia recently and were thrilled to discover the quirky, energetic and poetic work of Netherlands Theatre Company Het Filiaal. We passionately support this kind of live theatre programming for kids that offers developed concepts and an aesthetic that sits outside mainstream, consumer driven culture.
The set of Miss Ophelia immediately sparked our curiosity, looking almost like a working art studio with cardboard cities telling stories in whispers and the 2 actors already on the stage building the anticipation as the children so quietly took their seats. It was striking to see performers with such a powerful sense of presence command attention from so many very young children even before the show had begun. The simple use of paper puppets and the unapologetic and joyful references to pregnancy, birth, relationship and family were refreshing. “My most favourite part was when she was pregnant even though it was really a pillow, and the little paper baby popped out. I know exactly how they did that, it wasn’t a trick” Twyla, age 4
We loved the quietly spoken Miss Ophelia and her lost shadows and agree that there is enormous value in seeing the most beautiful plays in the world even if they are retold by lost souls. A simple enchanting work in the most magically ordinary ways with a beautiful musical score and the topics of loss, loneliness, ageing and death dealt with so beautfully that the overall experience was uplifting and inspiring. We were so happy to take away our own shadow puppet theatre and spent the afternoon cutting and characters and telling their true stories. Undiminished immersive arts experiences can provoke creative responses and conversations between children and their adults long after the lights are up. If you had the opportunity to see Miss Ophelia in Sydney let Kids at the House know you loved it so they can keep programming more unusually beautiful and engaging theatre for children.