Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fluff

Earlier this month, we saw the quirky live theater show for kids called "Fluff - A Story of Lost Toys." Christine Johnston has an absolutely amazing voice, Lisa O'Neill has an expressive face and moves her body in a memorable manner and Peter Nelson is a master of the use of digital audio (and he played live trumpet as well). It's not often that we attend a live show for little kids that seamlessly integrates singing, movement, music, sound effects, (live!) audio sampling, projections on a screen and interactive audience participation. Fluff does it all in under an hour. They introduce the lost toys they collected to the children by holding up each toy that was found, they then show a video projection of a series of stills that highlight how that particular toy was lost (that was Lina's favorite part) and they assign a name, vocal sound, bit of music and body movement to each toy. Then while trying to tuck the toys into their individual beds, they ask the kids to recall the name of each toy. This beautifully illustrates how much easier it is for a human being to remember something they learn...when they have a visual + sound + motion associated with it. We will never forget Scary Cheeks, Joy, Disco Frog, Flatsy etc. Lina commented to me about the different genres of music used for the snippets.

What was completely unexpected was that Christine went out into the audience with a microphone and ran up to some of the children...and Peter captured the live audio on a tablet. Lina contributed a chicken sound. The music was then mixed and replayed by Peter (the sound engineer) using his keyboard. (If my memory serves me correctly!)

It all came together so nicely...but sadly this was held at the New Victory Theater in Times Square...any theater group that is into technology (or wants to be promoted by those attending the show) should not be performing at this theater. Could you imagine parents using social media to share the moment that their children's faces lit up and voices were compiled on-the-fly into this awesome sound that was played back for all of us...and that moment exponentially shared across the Internet as it was happening (also serving as a great memento to those who paid for tickets)? Wow, how many parents would buy tickets ASAP for the remaining shows before the theater group left NYC? NOPE. The New Victory Theater has a strict policy of no photos or recordings allowed, which is enforced by incredibly aggressive staff . I did not even bring a camera or any other recording device when I left my home to see this show...why? because I had witnessed a few months ago how they treat parents trying to take a picture of their child with performers bowing on the stage behind them (after that show had ended).