By Creative Director Poppy Burton Morgan, Metta Theatre
Monkey and Crocodile – Juggling apples and babies
No less than 3 of the 4 creative team for Monkey and Crocodile are working mums so for all of us it’s a constant juggling act keeping babies and shows up in the air, metaphorically speaking (for the most part). My son Noah was present throughout the Research & Development period for the show last July at the ripe old age of 7 weeks, and our costume Designer Kate Lane’s 8 year old was a very useful, and vocal critic of the very first R&D in January 2012. She loved the apple juggling though. Which is now a major part of the show – with every audience member getting a free apple at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, and on tour.
When we held auditions last month we had both baby Noah and our Circus Choreographer Layla Rosa and her 6 month old baby present. That was fun. Particularly as Trevor Nunn was auditioning his next show in the adjacent room. We’d warned him about the trumpet playing (one of the three characters is a trumpet playing Crocodile’s Mother) but we didn’t mention the possibility of screaming babies! Luckily they were pretty quiet – though of course the moment Trevor walked in was the moment I was breast-feeding Noah and simultaneously trying to keep baby Leo entertained with some ridiculous face pulling.
Whilst rehearsing on the swings in local playgrounds baby Noah and baby Leo were also in attendance – too young to be vocal critics and just old enough to enjoy the apples! It was never going to be easy juggling babies and a directing career but making a show in a playground, and including the little ones in the creative process has made it a bit easier, and a lot more fun!