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Notes from a Wandering Daydreamer Life as it should be...

entertaining the children

THAILAND | Friday, 13 July 2007 | Views [283]

it's been a pretty busy week. since we got back from the hill tribes we have been working on devising a production that we will perform to the two hill tribe villages we stayed in, the local village and to a couple hundred kids on childrens day.

the production is based on the Thai story of Minora, a Kinarre which is half bird, half woman. we split into 3 groups, each telling a different section of the play using a different technique. the first group using movement text and music, the second using puppetry and the third circus.

I chose to go into the puppet group, so i could have a chance to design some cool puppets. I created the evil character, which i modeled on dementors out of harry potter. using wire i made big long claws, a creapy mask with glowing red eyes, and i covered myself in gig flowing capes, totally hiding my body. i was also wearing my backpack which was stuffed full to give me a hunchback look, and i had a megaphone around my neck playing a recording of heavy breathing. i'm told that it was all quite effective, but i didnt realise just how effective it was until our first performance last night.

It was in pang deng, so we were performing outside and had little room to change, so we all got dressed before we left. I can honestly say it was one of the most bizzare experiences of my life, riding around in the back of a truck, dressed up like the grim reaper. i'm not quite sure what people were thinking when we drove past, with my claws and flowing cloak.
when it came time to perform, i ran out onto the "stage" (a mat) and straight at the kids sitting in the front row. to say that they shat themselves would be a bit light on. a few jumped and ran as fast as they could, not to be seen for the rest of the show. many others started crying, and the rest reeled back as far as they could and screamed their lungs out.

i dont think that there was a lot of sleep for the children of pang deng last night.

Thismorning we had children's day. 250 kids turned up at 9:00 and we had to entertain them to lunchtime. we performed our play, then broke up into different activities. there was making paper aeroplanes, story reading, puppetry, dancing, weaving, juggling and acro, hula hoops, but i did not see anyting else than the constant stream of kids faces lining up for face painting. I had bought a few face paints in chiang dao, but at the last minute decided we needed more, and it's luck, because by the time that they left, there were very few kids without some kind of painting on their face. Miriam and I barely moved for over an hour and a half, and by the end I was covered in paint.
It was very difficult to judge though, particulary at the start because they were so shy. They looked so scared as you would paint something on their face, but when you held up the mirror to show them what it looked like, their face just lit up and they would laugh with their friends.

By the time they all left everyone was absolutley buggered. we now have the afternoon off before performing our show twice tonight, then that is it pretty much.

Next blog will be from Chiang Mai or somewhere in Laos.

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