Children’s Cheering Carpet – Japanese Garden (Festival page)
TPO @ Space Theatre
11:00am, Tue 4 Mar 2008
As with my first Cheering Carpet (and in contrast to the second), the children in the queue for this performance were quiet and subdued heading into the performance. The raked seating that had been in The Space to support Glow had been removed overnight, leaving much more sparse seating; I took to the balcony, leaving the seats for parents & children, and offering a better view of proceedings.
The thing is, the increased physical distance from The Carpet also seemed to distance it from me emotionally, as well – I found this Japanese Garden to be far less engaging than the previous two. This may have been exacerbated by the inclusion of a more traditionally acted opening, delivered by a third performer. This opening failed to convey any significance in the overall piece, and only served to delay the time before the first audience interaction with The Carpet. But once the interactive bits started, they came thick and fast.
The visual art for the Japanese Garden was, sadly, less impressive than previous efforts; colours in the same subtle groups used together, muted, little to catch the eye. The imagination was left to feed on small iconic glyphs used to indicate walking paths, with zooming used to reasonable effect. But, overall, I found the Japanese Garden to be disappointing; the elaborate ending, with the three performers carefully laying out small small rock, glass, and sand gardens on the mat (precluding any further audience play) felt overwrought, contrived. But no matter – I’ll always hold Children’s Cheering Carpet in high regard for that glorious Kurdish rendition.