So, we have been in Taiwan for 6 days now and we are having a great adventure. White is playing in two cities while we are here. Firstly in Kaohsiung (pronounced Cow Shung) and then in the capital Taipei. We are being really well looked after by our host Cynthia and by Carol our interpreter who has just returned home after living in Belfast for the past two years.
Kaohsiung is hot, most days are around 32 degrees but it is the humidity which is the toughest bit. You walk around and within 5 minutes you need to change, but you need to walk to appreciate how amazingly different this country is. Apparently the taiwanese don’t walk much, the scooter is the preferred mode of transport and you see hundreds of them parked everywhere. At certain times of the day it is like there is a rally going on. I even had a guy yesterday, as I walked along the street, point at me, then point at his scooter and then wave bye as he drove past. I think we were both amused.
The people here are very friendly and have been loving the show. Beck, one of the guys from the front desk of the hotel where we have been staying came to see the show yesterday. It was sold out but he wanted to see it and so we squeezed him in. He bought us a beautiful gift of pineapple cakes and a box of tea and wrote us a lovely card to say thanks. In fact everyone we have met has been incredibly friendly and have been very keen to try out their english after the performance. So much so that even the tiniest members want to try. One little girl answered my Hello with a very earnest “abc” - it made me smile. And another child yesterday growled deeply “Awesome” as we opened the houses to reveal the colour. We have done a lot of photos after the show, both group and individual and it’s interesting to ponder is that because we can’t chat to the audience like we usually do? or is that just part of the culture here?
Last night Daphne our contact at the venue took us over to Chichin Island. Its basically part of Kaohsiung as it’s only a five minute ferry onto the island. We got to try Stinky Tofu - which is a fermented, blue cheese style, deep fried tofu…and yes it stinks. It’s smell is a kind of cross between rotten cabbage and manure and the taste is pretty full on too, a sort of blue cheese crossed with rotten meat. Suzie and Ian managed a couple of pieces. I stuck at one.
In fact the whole trip is a bit of a culinary adventure. We have tried century egg, which is black from being buried in clay, ash and quicklime - your average kitchen ingredients. Its actually not bad. And we have had fantastic meals the whole time brought from different parts of Taiwan, China and Japan. One thing that has made us chuckle is they are quite partial to sweet with savoury, so we have had several savoury dishes with a liberal sprinkling of hundreds and thousands on the top.
Today we waved a rather reluctant goodbye to Kaohsiung and got on the bullet train up to Taipei. It was a chance to see the rest of the country - if quite briefly as the train travelled at 182mph. We learnt you had to be quick for a photo. As we got into Taipei I nearly jumped out my seat as the suitcase which was I was studying suddenly moved and I let out a scream much to the bemusement of the dog inside and the amusement of Suzie - who I think will still be laughing when I see her later.
The part of Taipei we are staying in looks lovely. Tree lined streets and plenty of good shopping so we are looking forward to exploring that on our day off tomorrow. And I am sure we will have a few more adventures, culinary and otherwise, before we get in to the venue on Wednesday.
So, more Made in Taiwan soon.
P.S. I have just got into my hotel room and realised not only is the toilet seat heated, but it also has a complete jet cleaning system with front and rear settings…I am not sure I will come home.
White in Chinese and a century egg.
HUFF has won a CATS Award for Best Show for Children and Young People at this years awards. Well done to all who were involved and looking froward to it playing at the Traverse Theatre (1st -24th August) as part of the Made in Scotland programme 2014
Nice reviews for a small story/eine kleine geschichte
"perfect for 2 year-olds, who were completely enthralled" " **** Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
"...what lingers on is the power of imagination - regardless of age - to transform the ordinary into something dramatic or playful or talismanic. That imagination flourishes abundantly in Manley and Michaelis." **** Mary Brennan, The Herald
The CATS Award nominations have been released and HUFF is nominated for three awards. It is up for Best Show for Children and Young People, Best Design and Best Production. Thrillled
Paul from Catherine Wheels has created a piece in the Guardian Blog today about the White App. Read it here:
Okay - so I thought it was time for another LA update. We have been in Los Angeles at the Wallis Annenberg Center for 3 weeks now and are having a great time. We are sold out and have had an amazing response to the show. The weather is scorching, yesterday it hit 88 degrees and so finally, with a bit of persuasion, Ian has at last put on his shorts.
We have had a few other first’s while we have been here. We have had our first dog in to watch the show, a gorgeous ‘seeing eye dog’ aptly named Hamlet. Our first security guard who was a giant of man who came with a kindergarten the other day, he towered above them - only in Beverly Hills eh? And this morning we had an earthquake, the biggest for 20 years. We were all fine, though we had different ways of dealing with it. Craig was up and dressed in a flash. Ian and I lay in our beds and waited for it to pass.
The children’s responses to the show have really made us smile. Both Ian and I have had a lot of hugs after the show. One boy was so determined to keep hugging me that he started a Cotton hugging trend until it was just my head sticking out of a dozen small children. I would like to say Hi to Bettyana who came up to me after a show and said “Will you be my best friend?” so just so everyone knows Bettyana and I are bezzies. At another show a little girl got really upset when Wrinkle went back into the tepee for nap time. She kept quietly sobbing and sniffing saying “He’s going to die” over and over again - poor Ian he’s only 66! Then there was the little boy who asked Wrinkle “How did you change the colour of the eggs?” Ian replied “It’s Magic” The little boy looked back at him, waited a moment and then said “No it’s not. You painted them.” And finally to the tiny two year old girl who when i asked what colour her pink top was looked at me like i was an idiot and said “It’s PINK!” and then proceeded to teach me over and again “It’s PINK!”
“She’s got attitude” commented one of the ushers - I found out as she left that she was in fact Scary Spice’s daughter. And on that celebrity vibe we have had a few celebs in this week, Robert Downey Jr. brought his kids, sat on the mats at the front and beamed all the way through. Jennifer Garner brought her kids and said “Thank you so much - it was beautiful.” and we even had some homegrown talent as Henry Ian Cusick popped in as well
More soon from LA.
Okay - so here we are performing White in LA at the Wallis Annenberg Center a brand new beautiful theatre in the heart of Beverly Hills. We have been here just over a week now and are having a great time. We have been made to feel very welcome by everyone and are settling into our LA life.The show has been going really well and we have had some lovely responses and reviews - no celebs so far but we are still hopeful. Kneehigh are playing with Brief Encounter on the main stage and they had Liza Minnelli in seeing them the other day, so we have our work cut out.
We have been sampling the idiosyncratic life of LA. Obviously the car is king over here so it is quite amusing watching peoples faces when you say you have walked anywhere or got the bus. Jogging of course is a different matter and I have even seen a dog with a full set of trainers on. Staying healthy is on another level in LA and a friend Mary who lives over here took us to a vegan, raw, organic cafe the other day called Gratitude. We all ordered from the menu where each item was a state of well being. It was an interesting ordering experience along the lines of “I'm Terrific” “I'm Happy” “I’m Awesome”. When our orders had been taken, our very zen waitress asked us the question of the day "What in your life makes you feel blessed?" - I am still pondering that. In fact looking good even extends to apples as i walked through a farmers market the other day and saw a box labelled "visually distressed” - I’m not sure if that refers to the customers responses or the apples themselves.
The audiences responses have been making us chuckle. Ian had a little girl who showed him her yellow dress and said look I’m wearing purple - which sounds like some weird mind game. We had a show the other day for a group which was made up of twins, triplets and quads. When we did the Twins moment in the show - it got a huge cheer. It was nice to be able to reflect their world. Lastly, a little girl came up to me after the show on sunday, I said "Hi what's your name?" The little girl responded “ I've done a commercial” - only in LA eh? More soon.
Rosie Gibson has been working with Paul Gorman who sent her this quote below. Firstly the quote is amazing but secondly Paul Gorman and Rosie Gibson working together - double amazing!
Let us rid our minds of the prejudice that views others who opt out of education treatments as “delinquents”, “failures”, or “dropouts”. Let us view them instead as wise refuseniks, as conscientious objectors to a crippling and dehumanizing process. Let us act in a way that removes the stigma currently hanging over the heads of educational underconsumers. Aaron Falbel
Well here we are on another ferry but this time returning home from Denmark where we have been for the last 3 and half weeks. We have had a great time performing White or Kridtehvidt (Whitey white) which is what we have been called while over here. We have played in 5 venues right across the country from Hadderslev in the south to Thisted in the far north and taking in Aarhus, Viborg and Odense on the way.So a quick recap of our last 3 weeksWe started of the tour in the unpronounceable Hadderslev. It looks easy but the ‘dd’ is a ‘ll’ with a bit of ‘th’ thrown in at the same time an then the ‘slev’ is pronounced more like ‘slouwwe’. Basically the rule with Danish seems to be let your tongue go flat and loose and you are somewhere close. Anyway while we there we had great audiences and a few day trips out to see the beautiful surrounding countryside where we saw the amazing ice flows. The sea in the whole bay froze so it was like being in the arctic.(See pic) will send the picThen up to Aaarhus, the second city of Denmark, where we performed in the house of Gruppe 38. A really beautiful venue and a very stylish city. Everywhere you look in Denmark there is a consideration of design and there seems to be a healthy respect that your work should have the same aesthetic consideration as anywhere else in your life. The offices of the companies we went to were more like graphic design offices and it was fascinating to compare it to what we have back home.In Viborg, the home of Carte Blanche, we had a lovely couple of days. We particularly enjoyed hanging out with the guys from the company in their converted old army barracks - and their huge communal kitchen table is something we would all like to take home with us.One thing we have realised while over here. When people say Denmark is flat - they mean it. You might get the occasional odd hilly rise but that’s it. So even Thisted, right up on the remote north west of the country is just a rugged wind blown version of the same flat landscape.In Odense (pronounced Udn-sa) we have walked in the footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmarks best loved writer. It is fascinating to think if Burns or for that matter Shakepseare had written primarily for children how differently we might regard young people and consequently the art we make for them.Everywhere in Denmark we have gone we’ve been welcomed by our host theatre and we have met some lovely people along the way and would like to say a huge thanks to them for our trip. We are sad to leave Denmark but Suzie and I are off to New Zealand on Thursday to perform Pondlife at the Auckland Festival so we’ll be having a new adventure which I’m sure we’ll give you an update on. And Ian? He will be having his own personal adventure very soon - in the form of a new hip joint! For some reason he doesn’t like the old one. Good luck Ian! - we look forward to the new bionic Wrinkle.And to Denmark Hej Hej.