‘Rain’ is a collaboration between Drop Bear Theatre (resident artists at Artplay for 2013), The Seam and cellist Edwina Cordingley who have worked together to create a magical, multi-sensory space just for babies.
When you first entered the room was completely dark so there was a transition area of falling rain-like string to get the babies used to their surroundings and being in close quarters with other adults and babies. I was most impressed that they had thought of the need to gently introduce the babies to the space – we arrived late and rushed in, only for Baby 2.0 to start crying in fright. After we retreated back into the transition area he calmed down and then loved exploring the installation filled with objects likened to rain, cloud and water.
The show commenced with a performance by two dancer/singers accompanied by the cello. They sang nursery rhymes about rain and made rain-like sounds with their voices, the percussive effect of the cello and by tapping on the floor and on giant water balloons. I have never seen a group of babies be so quiet and still – they were all completely entranced (as were the adults).
After the short performance everyone was encouraged to explore the space while the cello continued playing classical music. The babies and carers batted dangling string, smacked water balloons, slid on slippery silvery cardboard and felt the trickle of water from pipettes. Baby 2.0 was most delighted by the water balloons and basically didn’t move from them. It was a joy to watch!
I liked how Rain was an opportunity for babies to connect with the world around them through sound, touch and performance and for adults to stop, take some quiet time to be present in the moment and to really notice their babies and their responses. It was a sensitive and gentle experience for both Baby 2.0 and I and we loved it.
This is the second season of Rain at Artplay due to popular demand and I hope that they repeat the installation again, as I’m sure many people have missed out on tickets. For more photos of the magical space click here.