The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate adapted from the book by Margaret Mahy. Jigsaw Theatre Company at Tuggeranong Community Arts Centre. Adapted and directed by Greg Lissaman. Music: John Shortis. Design: Matthew Aberline. January 17-22, 2000, 11am and 2pm daily. Phone 6293 9099.
2 and 3 year olds dancing in the aisles is enough to say "Go and see this show with your littlies". But the strength of the miming, singing and dancing of well-known actors Chrissie Shaw and Tim Wood - in telling the story of the uptight unknown accountant in the neat brown suit who makes a break against all the good sense of his pencil and ruler to take his ex-pirate mother to the seaside and discovers "the weave and the wave" of the sea - was demonstrated by how both the adults and a group of intellectually handicapped people (from The Warehouse, Belconnen Youth Centre) were equally engaged. Warehouse Coordinator, Dylan Shaw was as pleased as any parent could be with this mythic drama of "letting go and taking on a life".
This play, using much of the text from the original story, has a gentle, quite intriguing quality, supported by Shortis's whimsical music and especially by recorded sound which is neatly moved around the stage in stereo. Jigsaw's new stage manager, Catherine Wright, is a strong addition to their excellent design and technical team.
Jigsaw has made the right move out of Gorman House (now perhaps too much in the "contemporary arts" pigeonhole), like the man in the story, to the Tuggeranong Community Arts Centre (by the lake if not the seaside) where there seems to be a special sense of freedom of access for Jigsaw's natural audience. TCA also brings a new bright office with a view, and close contact with ACT Department of Education which funds the core program for schools. As well, with Australia Council and other sponsorship, Jigsaw is setting up a 3-4 year repertory program of local, national and international early childhood, school-age and adult productions: The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate will complete its school and pre-school program in the ACT this year, and is expected to be seen in Sydney and Tasmania in 2001.© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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