From the moment the actors peeking at us from behind the decors, we were hooked. They totally broke the fourth wall, playing the role of actors in clown mode, thrilled by the large crowd who came to see their show.
We all had been given a piece of white paper before the performance. I went to see a school matinee so the room was packed with kids six years and under. I was curious to see what they would do with it. After a little while, some fashioned theirs into a spyglass to observe the props on the stage. Others made a megaphone to call their friends. The mischievous ones turned their sheet into a percussion instrument to create annoying noise over the head of their neighbours. Parents made origamis... But the theatre company had a much better use for it. Much better! I'm not telling. Let's just say your kids will be thrilled!
The unmasked actors moved the props between scenes but they wore "larval" masks (simple ones with only a few features) as soon as they were "telling" the story. It is fascinating to realize how much is told non-verbally! We understood everything, without the use of words nor facial expressions (that's right kids, no emoticons!).
The body language of the actors was expertly choreographed, often conveying a complex mix of emotions. I love that the creator Nikki Loach didn't fall into the traps of political correctness, offering us a brother who could be truly mean, like any child who hasn't learned yet the consequences of his acts. He will learn, don't worry, but only through the hard work of his patient little sister. This is a story of siblings and big lessons, of cute little bird and competitive hockey, enhanced by the lively usic by Tim Williams.
I suggest you sneak into the School section of the YPT's website and look for Snow Angel's study guide under Teachers Resources. You'll find interesting questions to engage your kids after the play. (Remember that the idea is not to make it "educational", but simply to ask them interesting questions to see how their little minds work.)
Snow Angel plays until February 19 (Fun for kids 4 to 8 years old... and their parents): Presented Saturday at 2 p.m. (First Saturday reduced rate), Sunday at 2 p.m. (Pay-What-You-Can day, 100 tickets available payable cash in person at 9 a.m.), Monday at 2 p.m. (Family Day performance, including special activities, need to rsvp to reserve spots). Note that the general public can also buy $22 tickets for the school performances: Tuesday at 1 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. Go to www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca to book online (regular price $22 to $30 + fees and tax)
(All photos by Trudie Lee Photography)