By co-founder and performer Susan Momoko Hingley, Pin the Tale
Splash! Is Pin the Tale’s first outdoor show aimed for children and adults. We are over the moon to be performing at GDIF this summer. It is a fun, imaginative piece about something we are perhaps all too familiar with here in the UK, rain.
Splash! is the story of a single water droplet, told by three cloud control workers high up in a cloud. It follows the droplet from its fall from the cloud, through various adventures and back up into the cloud. The idea is based on a poem called The Adventures of Vapour by Andrea Pierides. She first got the idea whilst on a plane, looking out of the window and watching thick clouds pass by: “I started thinking about the droplets of water that this cloud was made of. If one could speak, what crazy story would it have to tell? Who would it have met? Where has it been? What has it seen? This was where the idea of The Adventures of Vapour was formed. Using my story as inspiration, Splash! was born.”
With a few R&D sessions and a blast of a week rehearsal, we finally got the show on the road at the end of May, with our premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith a few weeks ago.
Now, making a show about rain called Splash! inevitably means somebody is going to get wet! Maybe a performer or an audience member. We never expected this to happen on such a torrential scale prior to the Lyric shows. The entire week, from the tech throughout all eight shows, the heavens were wide open. As soon as anyone said, “we’re ready to start the show”, as if on cue, the rain started to pour down. Luckily our costumes are made of waterproof material, but every single layer down to my pants got soaked through and through. Can a show title really tempt the weather? Ragga, our director, is adamant that our next show should be called “The rays of the sun” or something of a more tropical nature. Nevertheless, we are grateful for the Hammersmith audience for still watching the show. The Lyric staff were fantastic and got on with their job whilst getting absolutely drenched. Whatever happens weather-wise at GDIF, we are fully prepared!
Being our first outdoor show, we have had to think carefully about our relationship with the audience. People may join half-way through the show. Others may get bored and leave straight away. We were conscious that the show has to be visually stunning to hook and engage an ever-changing audience. During the Lyric performances, our audience members watched under a giant white gazebo, whilst taking refuge from the rain. This made the audience gather in one huddle, rather than spreading out on all three sides of the performance space as we had imagined. After one show, Nathan Curry suggested we should move the gazebo forward to create more intimacy. This totally worked. It made me realise that outdoor theatre empowers everyone to mould and shape the show and auditorium. We can do it, the audience is free to do it and even the weather can do it. No two shows will ever be the same. Let’s see what happens at GDIF.