Theatre preview: Bounce
New dance and acrobatic show for children gets everybody moving
Imagine you’re an 8-year-old child, and have just walked into your school hall to discover a bouncy castle. Few things in life would be more exciting. Now imagine walking into that same scenario and being told you can’t go on it.
‘That would be brutal,’ says Lou Brodie, creator of Bounce, a brand new dance and acrobatic show for ages 5-8, which takes place entirely on a bouncy inflatable.
It’s for that reason that having the audience, as well as the performers, on an inflatable structure was the only way Brodie would consider making the show.
‘It’s a question that has come up an awful lot,’ says Brodie, ‘because people assumed that one side of the structure would be open, and the audience view it from that side. But because the work is made for 5 to 8-year-olds, and made in response to how physical they are, it was never a question in my head – they were always going to be on the inflatable alongside the performers.’
Brodie’s thought process was affirmed early on during the show’s development, when they took the inflatable to a primary school. As soon as the children walked into the school hall, they said ‘are we getting on that?’ Saying no would indeed have been brutal.
So that’s the audience sorted, what about the performers? As everyone who has spent time on a bouncy castle knows, choosing where and when to land isn’t always within our control. How has Brodie, and the two performers recruited for the show, managed to finesse the movement?
‘I’ve worked with two acrobats who have amazing capability,’ says Brodie. ‘They both have tumbling and trampolining experience, as well as dance and parkour. So for them it was just about understanding what the material has to offer them – when they can manipulate it, when it manipulates them.’
Brodie was commissioned to create Bounce by Imaginate, through funding from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, with the specific instruction that the show had to be able to tour primary schools. Produced by Platform in Glasgow, where it will open before playing the Imaginate Festival, the show will tour Scottish schools in the coming months.
Finding a 10 by 10 metre inflatable structure in their school hall will no doubt grab children’s attention from the start, but what about the show’s content? A music and text score has been created by collaborators JC Marshall and Daniel Padden, but beyond that, Brodie is remaining tight-lipped.
‘We’ve created a narrative in which the bouncy castle becomes the third character,’ she says, ‘but I can’t give too much away or it will ruin the surprise.’