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Kiwi Moon – A giveaway

kiwi moonOn Monday morning I woke to a tiny creature yelling at me: “We gonsee da Moon Mama. Da Moon an dat keewee”. I can blame Capital E for my early morning wake-up call. I gratefully took tickets from them to their latest production – a stage version of Gavin Bishop’s picture book Kiwi Moon. I had made the error of telling my toddler the night before that we’d be going to see a show that was about the Moon and kiwi (I made big assumptions based on the title I confess).

We dropped into Nanna’s on the way so that Eddie could tell her all about the show and the kiwi and the Moon. “I gonsee dat show Nanna. Dat keewee and dat Moon Nanna”. We also wanted to soak up some of those daylight saving hours that meant the day stretched ahead with migraine-inducing clarity. Nanna was intrigued by the idea of taking a toddler to a show and we all wondered if the two-year-old could handle it.

Well, handle it he did. But with commentary the whole way through:

“IT DARK MAMA! NO LIGHT MAMA”

“DAT KEEWEE MAMA! DAT KEEWEE MAMA!”

“WHAT DAT MAMA?”

“DAT WEKA DEDDY?”

All the way through!

Luckily our kid wasn’t the only one providing a full narrative for the entire show.

And what a show it was. It was, as our youngun’ would say: “Jus luffly!”

The general premise is that a beautiful wee kiwi is born (with a funny Monty Python-style stuck in the egg entrance) and he isn’t like the other kiwi. He’s white. And kiwi obviously need to be brown to blend in. So he asks te Marama (the Moon) if she is his mother as they look so alike. The subtext is your standard kid-fare: ‘it’s OK to be different’ but the message here is gentle and subtle. That you can be a hero without looking like one. That mamas are always there for you but you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet as well. That brave acts are possible even when we don’t feel brave. That loss is a part of life and we are stronger than we think. And that weka are pricks (actually maybe that one is about bullying being bad).

The performers were skilful puppeteers and they had beautiful singing voices. I was particularly taken with te Marama who my son really did see as the Moon even though she was a performer wearing a beautiful white korowai (cloak) and wasn’t Moon-shaped. He now points to the Moon and says “te Mama?” which is pretty cute. She really did have the mana of the Moon and a lovely sort of lilting voice that was still really commanding. Her continued refrain through the show of “be mindful of the land we share” was lovely.

The small one loved the huhu grubs. The cute little huhu sung a funny little Country and Western styled ditty: You Who! You’ll never catch a huhu! While singing this they popped up and down in front of the kiwi. This was the absolute height of comedy for the two year-old. He rocked back and forth on his chair, screeching with laughter. He then had a moment with another toddler where they both just pointed at each other then the stage, then each other, as if to say “are you getting this? Holy shit this is gold!’

The show includes a few (maybe) dark themes – but they’re handled gently.

Eddie announced that he was “BIT SKED” of the dog. He sat on my lap: a ball of nervous energy. I got a bit teary over the injured mama kiwi but cracked up laughing when the little girl in front of us loudly announced “SHE DEAD”. I hope the play has a longer life than the mama kiwi so when Eddie is a bit older I can take him along and initiate a conversation about umm…death. It’s a very smart play that gives older children a lot of credit – that they’re actually compassionate little beings who can understand more than they’re given credit for. I noticed a little boy of maybe five or six hold his mum’s hand and lean into her during the sad part. It made my ovaries ache a bit.

So really, as sceptical as I was about the ages two to seven tag – I think it’s fair. My kid loved the songs and puppets and could (kind of) follow the storyline. He was enthralled from start to finish (impressive given it’s 45 minutes long).

There you have it – my scrambled thoughts on a lovely wee show that we all really enjoyed (my husband said it was the best show he’d seen, and the baby only crapped himself once).

Capital E have very kindly given me a double pass to give away! So comment below to be in to win and I’ll draw a name tomorrow after the witching hour (maybe 8pm?) I’ll email the winner and announce it here as well.  Obviously you’ll need to be in Wellington because that’s where the show is!

Book tickets to Kiwi Moon here.

  • Dates Sat 4 – 18 April
  • Where Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace, Wellington
  • Times 11am, Mon-Sat (2pm performance on Sat 4 April)
  • Age 2-7 year olds
  • Price $12.50 per person; $44 for groups of 4; $10 per person for groups of 10 or more; under twos go free
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Give me the Moon

My son’s current obsession is the Moon. Each night he insists that we take him on to the deck to look at the Moon. If he can’t see it he implores us to “geddit” for him. I’m not sure if this is a diversionary tactic ahead of bedtime. Either way, he’s all about the Moon right now.

So I’m looking forward to Capital E’s National Theatre for Children production of Kiwi Moon for obvious reasons. The good folks at Capital E contacted me after I wrote about their National Arts Festival. They offered me tickets to see another show during the festival – Orchestra of Spheres: The Sound & Light Exploration Society.

I don’t really know how to describe The Orchestra of Spheres. They have home made instruments. They dress in awesome outfits – kind of like drunk hipsters at the Sevens but without the hideous cultural appropriation. And their show is a weird orgasm of sound and light (fitting I know). I mean it sounds pretty messed up to say orgasm when referring to kid entertainment but they’re not really kid entertainment. For starters – you don’t want to smash your skull into the nearest piece of concrete when you listen to them, so that’s a sure sign that they’re not a made-for-kids band. They also seem to avoid mind-numbing kid lyrics (you know what I mean by kid lyrics – yesterday, on Play School they had a song that included the lines: “they’re egg-shaped because they’re eggs”) Don’t get me wrong – the kids LOVED the show. My little E and and his bestie were dancing in the aisles, as were most of the other kids at the show. But they are a band that could and do play pubs and clubs, and you can see why. It really was joyous music. Weird, funky, psychedelic, jamming art that had plenty of sass.

Orchestra of Spheres. Credit: Capital E.

Orchestra of Spheres. Credit: Capital E.

It’s a shame that at the show I went to the crowd really only got into it for the last two songs. I think that was possibly due to it being a matinee performance. We had the kids on our laps and they were pretty desperate to get on their feet, but it wasn’t until the front-person-tree-jellyfish told everyone to stand up that we felt we had permission to let the youth go wild.

Eddie said his highlights were: The World Moon (a giant white balloon that they projected images of the world on to, it did look like the Moon) and The Tree Man (for the last song the front person-triangle was dressed like, you guessed it, a tree). We had a great time and surprisingly the 50 minute show felt short. There was some kind of theme to it – a trip through the universe. The theme did kind of remind me of some of the experimentation I did in my youth but we won’t go into that. I’d definitely see them again.

But I’m really looking forward to Kiwi Moon which opens tomorrow. The season runs until the 18th of April. It will be my lad’s first theatre show. I’ll post a review once I’ve taken him along. Here’s what it’s all about:

 A little white kiwi thinks the moon might be his mother because it is white and bright and round like him. Prepare to snuffle and shuffle through the forest floor, hula with the huhu grubs, watch out for the wekas, and calypso with the handsome kakapo in this charming tale of one little white kiwi’s quest to find his place in an often strange and sometimes dangerous world.

That sounds pretty damn cute to me. Maybe if I ask super nicely Capital E will flick me a family pass for me to give away to any Welly parents reading this. Keep an eye on my Facebook page or check back here for updates. And if you see Kiwi Moon please let me know what you think of it. I think it’s great to support kids theatre. I’m doing my best to make sure my bogan kids get some culture in ’em.

Have you taken your kids to a show before? Did they like it?

Book tickets to Kiwi Moon here.

  • Dates Sat 4 – 18 April
  • Where Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace, Wellington
  • Times 11am, Mon-Sat (2pm performance on Sat 4 April)
  • Age 2-7 year olds
  • Price $12.50 per person; $44 for groups of 4; $10 per person for groups of 10 or more; under twos go free

Dirty Dancing

We don’t get out as much as a family as I’d like us to. I remember the early days of parenting. We loved dressing up our first born and going out together on little adventures. We loved swanning around together, high off our new family status.

I guess something has been lost in the years since because our second is six weeks old – and today was the first time we *properly* went out as a family.

We stopped going out as much as a family for a few reasons, but mainly it was money and needing to rest. My husband often picks up whatever extra work he can on the weekend and then when he’s not working he takes one of the boys or both of the boys out so I can sleep. If he’s exhausted from working I do the same. We had started to work in shifts, it was great for sleep and rest, each of us getting a bit of “me” time, but it’s not so great for family life. We were getting to be like ships in the errrm…day.

A few weeks ago I took my two and half year old to the Island Bay Festival. My husband had a well deserved few hours rest at home watching the Cricket World Cup (which is my idea of Hell). I raced around with the kids. The MC at the festival announced there would be a dance competition. The toddler, upon hearing the word “dance”, sprinted to the stage and began throwing shapes as only he can. He won the prize for “most memorable dancer”. It was a family pass to a Capital E National Arts Festival Show: Dirt and Other Delicious Ingredients.

We decided we would go as a family – It being our firstborn’s first show and all. This morning he woke up with his usual morning mantra “Hello Mama! I’m Eddie!” but then afterward came the SHOW SHOW SHOW SHOW chant that continued unabated for the next five hours, basically until we entered Shed 6 at 11.30am.

The excitement reached fever pitch then. He began shaking all over like some kind of hypothermic chihuahua. On the stage there was piles of “dirt” – coffee beans, cloves, cinnamon, leaves, that kind of thing. In the middle of the stage was a dancer in white and brown with cinnamon sticks balanced on her arms. Well, he could not contain himself. “DIRTY! SHE GOT DIRTY ON HER ARMS!” As the lights went down he started to emit a low-level squeee that continued for the first five minutes of the performance.

There were five very talented dancers from the Java Dance Company – they danced in the coffee beans and cloves and cinnamon and made music by slapping their arms and legs and big wine barrels, and two of them also played the cello, violin, and mandolin. There was a lot of clapping which is basically Eddie’s favourite thing to do after dancing. When they brought out a marching drum it was like he had reached some kind of next level of toddler heaven. He went really quiet and I thought he might be transcending space and time or something.

Then the dancers threw tomatoes at each other. To our toddler this was the funniest thing he had ever seen ever. EVER. As if that wasn’t enough, three of the dancers climbed into a wine barrel full of water. “They in the bath when they dirty dancing!!” he cried. He looked like he might actually cry from witnessing something so incredible. A bath! On a stage! With people dancing in it! The audience of kids were losing their minds at this point.

Mr Boganette and I kept laughing at his thrilled reaction, but as well as the joy of seeing him so happy, we also really enjoyed the show (there was mad chemistry between two of the dancers, a nice extra for parents who haven’t had sex in forever because their kids never sleep).

Just as my little whānau were reaching peak warm fuzziness, the show ended. At 40 minutes it was just the right length for an under-five. Most of the kids in the audience rushed the stage to touch and smell the “dirt” and meet the dancers.

Our tiny dancer declared “I like dat” which is truly his highest praise. It feels like all we usually hear is “I don like dat” so it felt like a small miracle to hear that he could like something. Feeling really chuffed and swoony all over, we decided to have a treat by taking a walk around the harbour. We didn’t know the Waka Ama was on, so that was an added bonus. It was so fun to watch that we decided we would get a kebab each to keep our lovely day going. Our boy, in true toddler fashion, refused to eat any of our kebab, or his healthy snacks that we’d brought with us, so we let him have mini donuts – because fuck it.

As we sat watching the waka action and eating our yummy treats a covers band playing at the park started wailing Paranoid. Then Under My Wheels which Eddie recognised and started screeching “Wheel song! Wheel song!” He started headbanging with a mini donut in each hand.

It was then that I realised that actually, we HAVE to do this more often. It might be a hassle to get out with the kids, we might be broke, we might be tired – but as cheesy as it sounds, reconnecting as a whānau has to be a priority. I find it so easy to put having quality time together in the too hard basket. I keep saying that because we are a chilled out family, and we express our love for each other often, and don’t really fight, we don’t need to be ‘doing stuff’ all the time. I think though, I didn’t realise that we are actually practically never doing stuff at all.

Today really made me realise that going out together, with no distractions, just a fun activity or two, maybe a treat – is just really life-affirming. And important.

In the car on the way home our little one said “Eddie’s happy. Daddy’s happy. Mama’s happy. Widdle Baby Wonnie is happy”. If that isn’t a call to action for my partner and I – well, I don’t know what is.

It’s doubtful we will be able to afford to see any more shows at the National Arts Festival (though I do think they’re really reasonably priced and heaps of them look AWESOME) but I am going to try to seek out things we can do as a family and try to actually do them.

So let me know what you do as a whānau so I can steal your ideas because my brain is mush from lack of sleep.

Also, Widdle Baby Wonnie slept through the whole show drums and all because of course he did. A sneeze at 3am wakes him up but 40 minutes of banging and screaming (Eddie’s) is a lullaby…Go figure.

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