Friday, May 18, 2007

Kinderspiel Korrections: Part 2

(If you haven't read Part 1, please see below.)

Last we saw our fearless Co-Artistic Directors, they were in the middle of a dual to the death with the Dionysian forces attempting to overthrow their pet project Kinderspiel. Will their partner in criminally brilliant theatricality, the Dramaturg, step in and save the day? Stay tuned...




(trying to live up to the vicious insult that Alexia launched at me: blog tease. Can you believe that?! The nerve!)



............okay, I can't take it anymore. Our new and improved and more than slightly demented vision for Kinderspiel takes its lead from Hedwig and the Angry Inch (the play, not the movie). Through the structure of various musical acts, each fully genre'd, Hedwig tells his/her origin tale: how he became she and then he again (more or less. kind of. it's complicated. see the movie). Similarly, we'll present an evening cabaret performance composed of acts, moderated by an MC, which, combined with banter and monologue, will explain the origin story of the Kinderspielers and how they came to do what they do. Except our acts will be sequences of child's play, consisting not of play-acting, but the following tropes:
  • Questions & Answers:
    • ex. Q: "Why is the sky blue?" A: "Because if it was black we wouldn't be able to see anything during the daytime."
    • These questions can be stimulated by real world phenomena or by imaginary constructs from the below tropes. They are often deadly serious and carry the force of logic.
  • Role-Playing:
    • ex #1: "Let's play house! You'll be the daddy and I'll be the mommy and we'll be poor because you can't get a job and I'll let in strange smelly men and give them a tour of the bedroom while you wait on bread lines."
    • ex #2: [5 year old talking on pretend cellphone] "Hello, honey. I'm at the station! Can you hear me? I need you pick me up. I'm at the station. Can you pick me up at the station? I'm by the train."
    • These simulations of "adult" life often boil down stereotypes of domestic life and ones community in ways that only the sharpest of satires can mimic.
  • Games:
    • ex: "Okay, so each time you walk past the bench you need to jump twice and say the name of the person behind you but unless you say it backwards you have to walk backwards."
    • These games often have so many invented and/or improvised rules than no adult can comprehend how they could possibly be fun. But they are probably the truest example of direct democracy...assuming, of course, that there isn't a bossy 8-year old barking out all the rules herself!
  • Experiments:
    • ex: magnifying glasses on ants, salt on slugs, stacking things so high they fall and break, and designing and building a robot of scrap metal in the dumpster in the hopes of creating a friend who will clean your room, do your homework, and get you a girlfriend (not that I ever did that. Because I didn't! And I definitely didn't try to plug it in and get electrocuted! Who would be that stupid?! Stop looking at me like that!).
    • These experiments can often be destructive and cruel but they can also be the way kids learn about life, death, gravity, electrocution, and many of the other truisms that will govern their adult lives.
Now, we ain't no psychologists (though I've been home-schooling a 10th grader in AP psych so I'm not totally clueless. At least I hope not...wait, am I?), but, as far as we can tell from our playground and playdate studies, these discrete activities and their overlap cover the gamut of child's-play that is infused with the same sort of glorious kid-logic as great children's literature.

(Cry for help: if anyone out in the blogosphere knows of actual studies that categorize and or analyze kid's play, please comment or email me directly so we can be better informed. Emily, can you cast about for this, too?)

So, if the piece is essentially the interwoven biographies of 5 kinderspielers, who are these Weimar-era men and women anyhow? Check back on Monday for details as we present Part 3 of Kinderspiel Korrections.

In the meantime, comments are eagerly solicited, especially on one troublesome subject in particular: how do we develop this piece in such a way that it is read as a riff on how childhood is processed by adults rather than just a celebration of the oft-cliched "wisdom of the child"?

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