Story with mes­sage makes timely ar­rival

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

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

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