Music and masking tape combine to create magic in Touch and Go, a performance experience designed for two-year-old children.
The concept is simple – three performers use their bodies, voices, instruments and rolls of masking tape to create a performance piece that is as absorbing for adults as children. The reality is more complex and evolves differently in every show.
Before the show even begins, the terms of the game are defined. Shoes and socks are encircled with masking tape, creating tiny displays of utility-driven objects. Within the stage area, performers Felecia, Stephen and Heather start within a masking tape frame that serves as a barrier between them and the audience. From the moment the drumming rhythms begin the children are mesmerised, watching these playful adults chase each other and improvising games with the simplest of props.
Then the real fun begins. One side of the square is removed, literally opening up the performance to the kids and their carers. It doesn’t take long for them to join in either. El Guapo – a month shy of his second birthday – holds hands as he enters the space before taking off on his own, grabbing pieces of masking tape, shuffling under others, tip-toeing along lines and freezing when the music stops.
Watching the children interact with the performers is strangely beautiful. The kids seem to understand intuitively that they are the intended audience – no one is talking down to them or telling them what to do. There are no boundaries and they know it.
Director Sally Chance believes two-year-olds are misunderstood, not terrible. She sees the age as mighty, as a time when parents and carers will be equally exasperated and exhilarated as long as they can embrace their children’s point of view.
Touch and Go puts children firmly at its centre, creating a magical bonding experience that allows adults to reconnect with their own inner child through the wonder and experience of actual kids. El Guapo has already recreated the performance at home, making masking tape balls and chasing his older brother with strips of tape. Rainy days will never be boring again!
Touch and Go, Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
Thursday, 1 June and Friday, 2 June at 10am and 11.30am, and on Saturday, 3 June at noon and 2pm.
The performance lasts about 40 minutes.
Tickets are $25 per adult and child pair (extra adults $10).
Bookings are essential.
Thank you to regular contributor Erika Jonsson for this guest post.