1. Tell us a little bit about Carnival of the Animals?
Carnival of the Animals is a magical world created around Camille Saint-Saëns famous chamber suite from the 1880’s. The show is based around transformations, from human to animal, animal to animal, how a body can morph into many different forms. It was first created for Out of the Box Festival in Brisbane, a festival for children aged eight and under. So it’s absolutely kid-friendly, heaps of fun. What I enjoy about this show is that it really engages the audience, nothing is spoon-fed, there are many moments where we’ll hear the kids all trying to guess what animals they’re seeing onstage, and there is a real emotional arc. We go on this fun, crazy unexpected journey without stopping to think about where we’re going or how we’re getting there, so there is just so much room for imagination.
2. What can audiences expect to see (and hear) in the show?
Lots and lots of animals (not real ones). High-level circus skills, like table sliding, trapeze, acrobatics, juggling and skipping. A bit of live music. Singing. Inflatables. We made this show in collaboration with an incredible team, so there is some seriously beautiful projection by Michaela French accompanying the whole show. The original score by Saint-Saëns was only about 25 minutes long, but we had an amazing composer Quincy Grant who’s taken that suite and extended it to 45 minutes, a lot of it is unchanged, but the final result is a really fun mix of old and new, plus he taught acrobats to play music which is no mean feat! We’ve also got gorgeous costumes by Libby McDonnell, which have an almost Elizabethan feel, with red noses. It’s a whole kooky world, there is a lot to see and hear!
3. You were one of the original creators of the show for its world premiere last year. What kinds of things did you do in the studio to create it?
I remember how incredibly sore my body was after the first week, we’d spent hours upon hours experimenting with animal transformations, I was using muscles I never normally use! We really just delved into the animal world, watched a lot of video of animals moving, we experimented with how many different animals we could make with our bodies, with 7 acrobats and all the combinations within that the possibilities are endless! We learned how surprisingly hard it is to make 5 people look like a convincing elephant. We also made some horrific noise trying to put together some semblance of a circus band.
4. Did you have to learn any new tricks for this show?
Yeah, I had to learn how to use my voice onstage. I sing a very short melody, alone, into a microphone, onstage. It’s terrifying! I’m so glad to have jumped that hurdle, but that was definitely a new experience.
5. Why do you think parents should book tickets for their children to see Carnival of the Animals at the Come Out Children’s Festival in Adelaide?
I was talking to a friend of mine who used to go to the Come Out Festival when she was little, I bet there are heaps of adults around Adelaide who went when they were young, so those people should definitely come back with their kids! Carnival of the Animals is so much fun, but it’s more than that. It really engages the kids, they guess and think and wonder and they are inspired. I love watching kids running around in the foyer after the show and cartwheeling or just showing me how well they can walk sideways, they really get a lot out of it.