Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Interview:: Hatched: Life on The Farm

Recently I was interviewed by Flushing Town Hall about why I wanted to make Hatched: Life on the Farm, which performed at the historical and beautiful space on March 24, 2013. The show was sold out, and the audiences were fantastic! I think it goes without saying that the Executive Director, Ellen Kodadek, is programming extremely thoughtful, artistic and high quality work. All of the events in her season, are events that I am excited about bringing my own family to see.

Here is an excerpt of that March interview. Enjoy!

What were your influences that led you to create this piece? Rural background, Animal Farm?
I was influenced by work being created in Europe and Canada. They have been creating work for very wee audience members, creating the genre of “Baby Drama.” I wanted to take it one step further and be one of the first American artists to explore this genre, while making the entire experience not only theatrical, but a hands-on exploration. I like to say that Hatched is part-farm, part interactive museum and a full theatrical experience. I came up with the farm, since I know that baby animals are popular with this age. Small children are fascinated by baby animals and learning about baby animals. At the same time the baby animals reflect the kids in the audience, who are newly hatched themselves, learning about first time experiences, just as the baby animals in the performance.
Hatched is born!
Performed through movement, handcrafted puppets, and very little human dialogue, Hatched is set amidst an American family farm. The chick is met by a feisty old rooster, a wobbly calf learning to walk, a baby lamb and a noisy nest of baby birds. Through movement, the characters discover their newly born bodies; the calf learns to walk, the baby birds attempt to fly, and the lamb makes a new friend with the curious hatched chick. Young audience members are encouraged and narrated to interact and play with the characters onstage; they give the chicks their feed, milk bottles to the lamb, and worms to the baby birds. Three performers, who are the dancers, actors and puppeteers, narrate the piece through movement, animal-speak and some story dialogue. Original live guitar music vacillates between American Blues, folk, and a charismatic underscore for the animals. Hatched is a beautiful and delicate tale, told through exquisite visuals, music, and the exploration of newborn animals.

My intent is that babies in the audience will be enticed and delighted by the animal sounds, textures, and movements, while toddlers will enjoy watching and imitating their favorite farm animals as they come to life. Preschoolers will delight in learning about life and activities on the farm, and older kids will be able to enjoy the show purely for its theatrical magic through the performers, puppets and set. I want this experience to begin their relationship to the theater, helping to build future audience members, as well as lovers of imagination and artistic expression.

One of our first showings of Hatched. Audiences feed the lamb a milk bottle during the performance. 
What's next for you after the show at Flushing Town Hall?

Hatched will perform at Long Island Children’s Museum March 28 & 29, Brooklyn Arts Exchange April 14, BAM’s Fisher Hall May 7, Ailey Studio Theater May 9-10, 16, 17 & 19. We also have our performance of Coyote’s Dance performing at New York Historical Society & Museum April 28.

The company backstage before Hatched at Flushing Town Hall

Our company will also be leading residencies on dance, world storytelling, Shakespeare, and creative drama for preschoolers and kindergarten students in several schools.

What do you do for fun when you're not creating art?
I feel that everything in my life feeds my creative work. My favorite thing to “do” is to spend time with my own family. I love exploring the city and life through the eyes of my daughter. My husband, who is an actor and Host for AOL’s Saving Experiment, loves to make our family laugh, so our home is always filled with humor and creative play. When I’m not creating my own work, or working on Treehouse Shakers, you can find me exploring a museum, writing, seeing live dance, theater, or music. 

Anything else you would like to add?

Growing up my mother, a painter, and my father, a notorious family storyteller, exposed me to new experiences and creativity. My Treehouse Shakers’ business partner, Emily Bunning, and I grew up together in Southwest Wyoming. We attended art classes every Saturday with her Great Aunt Susie as our teacher. Over the years we have come to realize how amazing our childhoods were in terms of creativity, opportunity and play. We also never stopped playing as children. Our life work is dedicated to giving children of all ages, no matter their income, the opportunity to be exposed to high-quality performance which hopefully sparks their own curiosity in the world, empathy for others, and creative thinking. In our minds, art truly is the best building foundation for life.

The performance has an underscore of live music by the talented Anthony Rizzo

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