Another well timed nap! He woke up just as the performance was beginning...
After our Baby Yoga class this morning Archie, Grandma and I joined in "This [Baby] Life" (after a delicious roast vegetable wrap from The Cafe that is!). I didn't really know what to expect from this performance that described itself as an interactive exploration of how babies and adults connect with one another.
Let me simply say, both my theatre mind and motherhood mind were suitably blown.
The studio space that is the Tony Gould Gallery, underneath the Cremorne Theatre, was so simply set up, with comfy blankets on the floor for us all to sit on. The director and three performers welcomed us in, and we formed a little arc around their performance space, also on the blankets.
It's almost hard for me to find words to describe what I saw and what I felt during this performance. It was a mix of beautiful experimental music, contemporary dance and movement, sound, mimicry, and storytelling. I could feel almost as soon as the first performer began to sing, that the circle of parents and babies amongst which Archie, Grandma and I sat, were all drawn into this gentle, peaceful and engaging conversation. The adults watched as babies and performers spoke to one another, each telling their own stories and sharing their own moments of excitement, confusion and awe.
This was Archie's first ever experience of live performance. I watched him, quietly taking it all in. Long eyelashes over big brown eyes absorbing all that he saw. I know I will forever hold this image in my minds eye - his face outlined by the theatre lights behind him, his little mouth hanging open in quiet contemplation.
Archie and I with Heather Frahn and Felecia Hick from This [Baby] Life
I loved the aesthetic of this production so much. The pastel colours, it's gentle rhythm and pace, the simple story-telling through voice and movement. It was everything I think theatre for babies should be - the complete opposite of bright and noisy, of primary coloured plastic, of mass-produced, over-simplified performance.
Archie didn't tire. He wasn't over-stimulated by noise and colour. This performance, or really this exchange of human interaction, was just right for his little mind. For where he is at in relation to his growing understanding of this noisy, bustling world outside of my belly.
I mentioned in my first post that theatre and live performance is something that has always been close to my heart. That makes today a momentous occasion for me. Archie's first live theatre performances. I mentioned in my earlier post that sleep deprivation is making me teary, but seriously, I feel like today will be up there in my motherhood memories alongside first words, first steps, first day at school...
I've attended a lot of theatre and performance. And I've been to a lot of festivals. But I've never, ever seen through the eyes of a child who is a physical and emotional extension of myself, and it really was amazing. We don't watch a lot of TV in our home, and so what Archie experienced today - the people, the movement, the lights, colours and sounds was all brand new. I watched his new eyes with new eyes myself. Motherhood surprises me every single day.
In a big way I can't believe it's only the end of Day One of Out of the Box. Because Archie is so little, and we already have two big days at the Symposium planned for Thursday and Friday, I'm not sure how much more we'll be able to squeeze into our week. Three festival days is quite a lot for a four month old!
Perhaps it's because it's late at night, because my baby is asleep, or because I'm a very, very tired new mumma... Whatever the reason I'm waxing philosophical and feel like I've been taught a WHOLE lot about motherhood today. Or reminded at least. Our home is a beautiful place, we make sure it's full of love and learning, however, our little baby is growing up fast and there is so much in the world outside of our home. As his mother I can, I should and I must give him every opportunity I can to engage with the amazing life around us.
Tonight I go to sleep having learnt a whole lot. About my son, about me, and about just how insanely important creativity is in the lives of our children. We are privileged to live in a beautiful place where our community provides us with experiences like Out of the Box. And I feel so lucky to have fallen right into the thick of it now, in my first child's first year.
I could go on all night but I won't! It's time for these tired parents to rest. Tomorrow I'll share some more photos and stories from our festival day today, and as a special treat my husband Loc will post about our Flying Orchestra experience from a Dad's perspective.
Good night lovely people. Time for sneaky, silent kisses on the cheeks of those precious little ones under your wings.