Olive & Pearl (for ages 2-5) tells the story of a young girl, Olive, who is being raised by her Granny, Pearl. Centered on thematic elements of home, and what a home means, young audiences are invited into a cozy and gentle world, rich with sensory experiences. To directly engage young minds, audiences sit within Olive & Pearl’s home, which is made out of a dome of cozy, soft felts, crocheted squares, wool yarn and colorful fabric pieces. The story follows Olive throughout her day, as she is affectionately taken care of by her grandmother. Granny Pearl builds fires, warms tea, makes meals, has a comforting lap to tell stories on and safe arms to rock Olive to sleep. Throughout their day the characters play, go on an imaginary journey to the moon, sing songs, and dance. Granny recants stories of her own childhood home in Ireland, while sharing rhymes and poetry. Mythological imagery about home is projected throughout the warm room, like a reflective nightlight. Other images of home are placed throughout the performance; there is a robins’ nest above the window, a mouse’s hole in the living room, and a fish in its’ water bowl. The moon, which is a beautiful puppet, pearlescent in color, plays a significant role as it moves throughout its phases, changing to signify the times of the day as both a set piece and as a character within their home. Home is not only the structure of one’s house, but the place one longs for, like the magic of the glowing moon, to feel safety, love and warmth. Olive & Pearl is both a mirror and a window, for the very young child, into what is the meaning of home.
Magical, visual, stimulating, and oftentimes funny, Olive & Pearl is performed by two actors, who also represent the additional characters through handcrafted puppets: the moon, the robin, the mouse and the fish. Movement is woven throughout the piece, gently guiding the story, while incorporating the integral and familial connection between the characters. An original live music score, created and played by Anthony Rizzo delicately accompanies the performance underneath. The musical score combines inspired melodies of Bluegrass, Irish Fiddle, and traditional lullabies.
A first introduction into live theatre, the overarching goals of Olive & Pearl are to provide high-quality artistic work for young people and encourage a discussion that explores the deeper meaning of home and family. To this end, two post-performance workshops will be offered for the public. Designed for families, workshop participants will make their own puppets, listen to a live storyteller and learn the movements featured in Olive & Pearl. For school audiences, we have created an additional educational workshop that explores the importance of familial connections through creative drama, storytelling, puppetry and story-dance. The workshops will further connect and engage our audiences with the performance they have experienced, while helping children foster empathy, cultivate self-awareness, manage complex feelings and develop emotional intelligence.
Written & Directed By Mara McEwin
Choreographed By Emily Bunning
Original Music By Anthony Rizzo
Puppets & Costumes By Patti Gilstrap
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Number of Performers: 2