Sunday, May 17, 2015

Reviews of Ondin and The Secret Life of Suitcases at Stages, Sights & Sounds

Once upon a time I went to two shows and they were called Ondin and The Secret Life of Suitcases. Ondin was created by L'Illusion, Théâtre de marionnettes in Canada and The Secret Life of Suitcases was co-created by Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker and Lewis Heatherington in Scotland. They were part of the Stages, Sights & Sounds International Performance Festival for Young Audiences, which is a bunch of plays and workshops that are happening in May. I thought that these were both very great performances. I was captivated in both of them and found them both very interesting. I was sad that I couldn't see the American Revolution from Theater Unspeakable again, but you can read my review from last year here.

Ondin was about this boy whose legs turned into a fish tail when he fell into the water. Then he met this girl named Melusine who had loved by the water for many years. I thought it was cool that they changed Ondine to Ondin, so that you knew even boys could be mer-people. They (Sabrina Baran, Gabrielle Garant, and Maryse Poulin) tell the story with puppets and music. I really liked at the beginning how there was a dress that turned into the sea. It started moving and moved up and just stayed there and she stepped out of it. I loved the sting ray puppet. I thought it was so awesome and beautiful. And Ondin had a fish who became his friend over the course of the show. It kind of reminded me of the Ariel story, only I think this was better. You knew they were becoming friends because he eventually got to pet the fish and it followed him around. There was a lot of very cool music in this and they also made some instruments part of the show. There was a rain-making disc that made the sound of the ocean but was also used as a raft and then the moon. It is about children's friendship and finding your right place in the world.

I really loved the show The Secret Life of Suitcases. It was funny, clever, and adorable. The main character's name was Larry (Ailie Cohen); he was basically a really hard-working businessman. But he'd never done anything exciting. So there were little puffballs inside of suitcases called quarks (Samuel Jameson & Cohen), who decided to bring him on this big adventure. I thought the quarks were absolutely adorable. They kind of reminded me of muppets. And the suitcase arrives at his work and he decides to open it and it takes him on this big adventure. He goes onto an island and then goes to space. The puppeteers had these shirts on that made them look like the background for the puppets--the backgrounds were like the ocean, an island, and outer space. I thought that was really cool. There was also a tiny puppet of a shark fin that I thought that was really funny, because you saw the guy (Jameson) just pulling it along across his shirt. One of my favorite moments was at the very end when Larry got so excited that he was going to eat spaghetti on the beach because he might not be doing something that was super adventurous but he still got to go and have fun with his friends. I just loved how he talked when he said "I'm going to eat spaghetti! On the beach!" and it came from the back of his throat. And at the end it kind of went higher--and it was hilarious. All their set pieces were made out of suitcases, and I thought that was really cool. Like there was a door that was also a suitcase. There was also a little suitcase person with little suitcase feet that I thought was adorable. The show taught a lesson on how even the little things are adventures, and I thought that was a really good lesson to teach. It also taught us about how you should enjoy adventures too, even if they are scary. And also to go through with the adventures even if you have work stuff; you should still make time for fun.

People who would like these shows are people who like mer-people, walking suitcases, and eating spaghetti on the beach. I know these shows tour, so if you live anywhere near where they are going, go see them! They are both awesome!

Photos: Michel Pinault and Anne Binckebanck

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