In this year’s Winter Festival, we’re presenting Sound Explorers, a new show created specially for 5–7s. It’s based on the much-loved story of the Moon Man, who one days leaves his twinkling seat to explore the world below. Ahead of the festival we caught up with presenter Isabelle Adams to find out more about it.
What made you choose the Moon Man story?
I decided to work with the story of Moon Man because I love the book and the illustrations. Tomi Ungerer uses a lot of dark ink in his pictures which creates an atmospheric, spooky feeling. The bursts of colour which punctuate the dark images lend a really magical quality. As a reader, I feel completely wrapped up in the world of the story. Of course, we’re not using his images in our show, but they very much inspired our retelling using shadows, puppets, light and music.
I like the fact that the story is fantastical but allows us to explore real human emotions of loneliness, exclusion and finding where we feel at home. It also seemed perfectly structured for a dramatic retelling as there are a number of great action sequences: flying through the sky on a shooting star, crash-landing, a police chase and a party scene. We also encounter some pretty unusual characters, including the zanily-named Dr Bunsen van der Dunkel!
How did the story inspire the music?
Once I’d decided to use this story, it occurred to me that the moon has inspired composers from every genre to write music: there are hundreds of pieces from classical, jazz, pop and folk which invoke the moon. This provided me with a rich and diverse sound-world to draw upon in the show. The pieces I’ve chosen encapsulate all the different moods and activities of night-time: lullabies, parties and dancing, being still and quiet on your own, contentment, loneliness. So Schumann’s divine and spacious Mondnacht rubs shoulders with Van Morrison’s toe-tapping Moondance!
What will the experience be like for people who come to see Moon Man?
I also wanted our young audience to experience the show in a variety of ways: to enjoy listening to the story and music; to join in singing some of the songs; to become characters themselves in the story so that the action doesn’t always happen on a stage in front of them, but is sometimes going on right in the midst of them and is propelled along by their interaction. It also gives them an opportunity to create a piece of music which forms part of the show.
The moon only comes out at night time, and all the action of the story takes place at night so we’re lucky to be performing in the theatre space at the Brady Arts Centre which allows for a complete black-out. With shadow puppets, fairy lights and a disco ball we’re hoping to recreate the magical world of Moon Man. I hope you can join us for it!