Story with message makes timely arrival
MOST people could do with a friendly reminder to stop taking family for granted.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s latest production will give you that nudge.
Adapted from Shaun Tan’s award-winning book, The Arrival celebrates relationships and the value of home.
“The story follows a man who is separated from his family and has to leave where he lives, because dragons are terrorising his town, and travel a long distance across the ocean to this fantastical world,” company artistic director Philip Mitchell said.
“Here, he has to make a new home and finally bring his family out to this amazing place.”
A huge fan of Tan’s book, Mitchell saw a draft of the story in 2005, before it was published.
“When I saw it, I thought, ‘wow, this would make a great puppet show’, and we ended up opening the show (in 2006) before the book was printed,” he said.
“Shaun wrote this world where animals and people all live in harmony, so everybody has a pet and there are birds living on top of buildings, as well as flying ships in the air,” Mitchell said.
“In our production, the natural world is the puppetry world and the architectural world is the digital projection and then the inhabitants and music becomes the language.”
Mitchell said the work appealed to adults and children above five.
“The lovely thing for kids is that they can relate to it at a level where it’s like arriving at a new school and of course adults will read migrant stories in it as well,” he said.
“I feel so privileged using Shaun’s work because it’s so stunningly beautiful and I think we often underestimate children’s ability to appreciate beauty. I think people will leave with a feeling that they have seen something tremendously beautiful.”
The company performs this season at Dolphin Theatre at UWA while renovations are being done at the Fremantle site.
Ellis Pearson plays Aki in The Arrival. Picture: Jon Hewson