Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Hello Ling" & "The Music Mentorship Concerts" @ The Esplanade

We had bought ourselves tickets for a theatre event for children 2 to 4 years old called 'Hello Ling' at The Esplanade's Recital Studio on a Saturday afternoon. These shows are part of the 'Playtime' series made up of short educational theatre performances for kids, emphasizing a different theme each time. The theme for the 'Hello Ling' show was 'Light'. The 'Family of Four' package cost us $50. The 'Hello Ling' show was directed by a long time family friend of ours, which made being at the event even more special for us.

The show was going to start at 4 pm and we arrived slightly earlier to explore. We had a chance to visit a visual arts gallery just beside the Recital Studio and meet up with the show director (otherwise also known as our friend) before taking up our place at the forefront of the queue to enter the Recital Studio. Outside the studio, the staff were giving away 'Hello Ling' related handouts, masks, stickers and other items, which helped build up the excitement while we were waiting to go in.

Chocz brownie while waiting...

Corridor toward the Recital Studio

Masks and pamphlets!

Trying on the mask for the next installation of 'Playtime'series - 'Hello Adam'!

We were first in queue.

Activity sheets are available for download from the website provided.

Upon entering the theatre, we were transported into another world. The large hall was set up such that one of the four walls was completely covered by a large screen, a corner for the live music and sound effects, smaller screens and other 'kiddo' props and decorations surrounding a a square platform. We found a spot on the floor in front of the stage with the screen in the background. The place was dimly lit to give it a comfortable and cozy feel, and decorated to look like a garden, complete with cut-out flowers, Velcro-on insects at the side of the stage, and other garden themed visual effects on the video screens.

Enter the studio...

A panoramic view of the studio from the corner of the stage we sat at.

The sides of the stage were scattered with little Velcro-on insect cut-outs, which K. happily arranged in a line.

The actors appeared shortly before the show started to rev-up the atmosphere by giving out energetic and enthusiastic hi-fives to the kids and parents settling in.

Enter the actors... much to the pleasure of the audience!

The most emphatic hi-fives ever!

Ling interacts with the child audience!

Before the start of the show, I was wondering how it was going to be both entertaining and educational at the same time. The target age group of 2 to 4 years is not an easy group to teach any scientific concept to. My doubts were addressed once the actors took the stage. I was impressed by the script, which simply involved repetition of key words such as 'light', 'sun', 'shadow' in various contexts with sentences and dialogue kept to a minimum. The 'garden' provided the setting for the learning of what plants need to live. 'Seeds' were sown among the audience, and the actors went about discussing how they were going to help the flowers grow, of course, injecting hilarious comments and exaggerated actions to leave us laughing away. Their action songs were easy to follow, with numerous opportunities to participate during the performance.

Ling welcomes the sunrise with a yawn and a stretch!

The actors move around the audience and interact with them from the corners of the theatre.

It's a beautiful day! Introducing: LIGHT!

Waving to the Sun

Silly moves entertain the crowd!

SUNglasses... SUNbathing... SUNburn... SUNscreen... words associated with the sun!

Doing the 'Rain Dance'.

Getting the audience to chip in with the 'Rain Dance'!

Finally the rain comes... 

It's raining! K. covers her head!


Rainbow after the rain!

Introduction to shadows!

The actors show the children how to make different shadow animals. "Let's make a spider!"

The children have a go at making a spider with their hands.

Introduction to fireflies.

When the fireflies are released, they light up the night!

The children had many opportunities to interact with the actors in the show. Here, they point out a star.

Stars produce light!

"Hello SUN!"

We had a chance to catch up with the director after the show and take some photos. The families present all enjoyed themselves, and even when it was time to go, many of them lingered around to soak up the atmosphere before being ushered out of the studio politely by the staff.

Leaving the recital studio, we chanced upon a stage band set-up, and a sign at the Esplanade Concourse area that announced a performance in fifteen minutes. What an opportunity for some music appreciation! We took our places on the comfy sofa-like seats in front of the stage and waited for our second show to start.

The Music Mentorship Concerts (Click HERE for more information) were on from 16-18 August. Part of the Noise Singapore Showcase (27 July - 1 September 2013) , budding local musicians were put through a mentorship programme with established musicians prior to the performance. On this day, singer / songwriter Jonathan Chan, mentored by Sara Wee, performed some of his originals to the delight of the crowd. What a treat!

On the left is mentor Sara Wee.

The multi-talented John on the piano...

Sara Wee doing the back-up vocals.

The session lasted for about 30 minutes and it was a relaxing time spent together as a family. K was inspired by the "girl in the guitar and red lipstick" and even though we are not sure what she was really inspired by, one thing was for sure - she was attentive throughout the performance. A was more interested in the works of the performance so Daddy had to explain a lot of the musical instruments, purpose of amplifiers and the different microphones. It was a good thing that Daddy had some stage band experience, because Mummy only knows how to sing, out of key sometimes.

The girls did their own rendition of 'Hello Ling' over the next few days in the living room. We have since bought tickets to 'Hello Adam'. Looking forward to more educational fun together again.

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