Dog’s tale a lesson for kids
Premier Australian puppetry company Spare Parts Puppet Theatre toured the Pilbara and Kimberley for the first time in three years last week, bringing a show about the unique bond between humans and animals to schoolchildren.
Hachiko tells the true story of a loyal dog who returns to the Tokyo train station, where he used to meet his owner Professor Ueno, every day in the nine years after the professor’s death, becoming a beloved community figure.
Performers Sean Guastivino and Barnaby Pollock use origami-style puppets made out of cardboard and paper to tell the story through the eyes of the many community members who come into contact with Hachiko over the years.
The show started its regional tour run, supported by new partner company Horizon Power, with performances last week at St Luke’s College and Tambrey Primary School in Karratha before playing Port Hedland, Broome, Derby, Ngalapita community, Kununurra and Wyndham.
Hachiko artistic director Philip Mitchell said the play was a “beautiful story” that celebrated the loyalty of animals and power of resilience during difficult times.
“If you own a pet you understand the loss you feel (when they are gone), and that’s what we are hopefully (giving) the kids — an understanding that death can be sad but it’s also a really positive thing because we remember, and that’s what the story of Hachiko does,” he said.
Mr Mitchell said resilience was one of the main themes teachers and parents wanted to see in the shows. “To have an emotionally well community you need to talk about death with kids, we need to talk about resilience, we need to talk about big life issues and how to navigate this really difficult world,” he said.
Each Karratha school show as followed by question and answer sessions and puppet-making workshops.
Horizon Power brand and communications manager Andrew Riches said the company was glad to be supporting Spare Parts in the Pilbara and Kimberley.