Posts Tagged ‘Octoburst’

It’s Octoburst time!

Last year’s activities were so engaging that we went back again and again and again. The boys loved the hands on activities, the performances, and the book swop. Each time we went, we spent hours at the Esplanade, and even then I had to drag them away when it was time to go home. This year’s Octoburst promises another fun-filled, activity-packed programme to treat your kids this Children’s Day.

Held annually at the Esplanade, Octoburst provides a host of activities – free and ticketed – for children to explore a world of endless possibilities through the arts. This year there’s also a cute new, colourful mascot called PIP that will make its appearance at Octoburst.

PIP! Looks like a cuddly, colourful merlion to me (Image taken from here.)

Among the ticketed events, there’s a Sensory Walkabout where children will be guided to notice the textures around the Esplanade and use these as inspiration to create a whole new city.

Go on a sensory walkabout (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s My Bright-Light Idea workshop where you and your child will transform a piece of cardboard into a brand new night-light that you can bring home.

An upcycled lamp (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

And if crafting is not your thing, join a ukelele workshop with your child and learn to play an instrument together. There are also several shows, including Casa by La Baracca Testoni Ragazzi, which tells the story of a grown-up and a child who meet, get to know each other and start to build. Building turns into play, and little by little, they build a story, a structure, a roof, a house. Sometimes the little one pretends to be the grown-up, while the grown-up pretends to be the little one.

Building with pipes (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

The one I’m definitely not missing is the Dance Appreciation Series: Introduction to Swan Lake by the Singapore Dance Theatre. I like this series of performances and think it’s great they present ballet in an accessible way to children. We’ve gone for Nutcracker, and the Introduction to Ballet Classics, but the boys’ favourite so far has got to be Romeo & Juliet! I’m hoping Swan Lake will be as good and they boys will thoroughly enjoy the show. It’ll also be Alyssa’s first ballet related show, so I really can’t wait!

Swan Lake (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s actually one more show called Spot that plays with light and challenges your children to notice things they normally wouldn’t have, but’s sold out already. If you are interested in the other ticketed events, you should book your tickets quick.

Besides these, there are plenty of free activities! So many that you better take a look at the line up and plan your time if you hope to catch all the ones you are interested in! You can print out this festival guide to help you along. Some of the highlights include A Pipe-ful Play Garden by Playeum where you can grow your own little pocket garden and together with other kids, build a living and ever-growing pipe-maze! I think the kids will love this, and I’m hoping the haze will go away this weekend so we can head outdoors to try this activity.

There’s also Doodle City where the kids can add their own touches to doodles by the Band of Doolers, Book Stop where you can bring along a pre-loved children’s book to exchange for another book, Happy Stamping activity with over 200 stamps to choose from (and which kid doesn’t love stamping??), storytelling sessions, and the chance to let your kids watch an angklung performance by Sri Warisan Angklung Ensemble.

Stamps galore! (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s lots going on, and there’s no better place to spend the Children’s Day weekend with your kids! See you there!

Octoburst is on from 9 to 11 Oct at Esplanade Theatres by the Bay. The activities take place at various locations around the Esplanade.

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How do I begin to describe this show and this story?

Words will not quite do it justice – and that’s probably why the show itself is wordless – but I’ll try.

Something Very Far Away by Unicorn Theatre is about a man, Kepler, who loves two things beyond all others – the cosmos and his wife, Tomasina. When he loses her suddenly in a tragic accident, he goes to extraordinary lengths to relive the last moments he spent with her. He knows that the further into space he looks, the further into the past he sees. So he embarks on an epic journey to travel deep into space so that he can look back into the past and see his dear wife.

Tomasina joining Kepler as he does some stargazing (Photo taken from the SISTIC website)

Kepler and Tomasina at the circus before the freak accident happened (Photo taken from the SISTIC website)

It’s supposed to be a children’s show, but it deals with very adult issues like death, loss, and a deep, enduring love. It was so moving, I found strong emotions welling up inside me and I had to hold back my tears.

You feel the deep affection between Kepler and Tomasina. Are amused how he’s the serious one and she’s so lively and playful. You feel intense sadness from Kepler’s sudden loss, not least because of the moving live music, but also because of the extremely delicate puppetry work by the performers. A little lowering of the head, a little movement of his hand, an appropriate stillness. You also feel the excitement, determination and hope as he builds his spaceship and flies off into deep space, literally to the end of the universe, to keep the memory of Tomasina alive. The way the emotions are conveyed, it doesn’t feel like you are watching puppets at all. You just feel.

Kepler’s shock after the accident (Photo taken from the Unicorn Theatre’s website)

The story itself is a simple one, but the emotions aroused are big and, I think, hard for young children to fully understand. It’s unusual for a children’s show to deal with death and sadness, but it’s something real that children have the face as they get older and experience loss themselves. The depth of Kepler’s love is also quite beyond the understanding of young children. There are a few light-hearted moments, but because of the themes, I think 6 years-old is the absolute minimum age. Even then many of the nuances will be lost on them. It’s really more appropriate for older, more mature children.

But what will be of endless fascination to audiences young and old is how the show is done. With four cameras, mini-stages with multiple sets, live-animation with hand puppets and shadow puppetry, the audience is treated to a backstage view of how a film is produced. The action from the four cameras are projected onto a screen at the back, at times showing the feed from just one camera, at times from several at the same time to give a dream-like effect. It is genius.

Puppetry projected on the screen behind (Photo taken from the SISTIC website).

I loved how you get close-ups of what the characters are doing, like seeing the details of Kepler’s books and maps. And I was intrigued at how all it took was some simple items to create wonderful effects on camera like a spaceship flying through the stars, and rain!

The most amazing part about the show is that somehow, even with the hive of activity before you, it never once distracts you from the beautiful storyline and the emotions it raises.

It was very good. Sad, yet sweet, and stirring.

Something Very Far Away is part of Esplanade’s Octoburst! festival and it’s on at the Esplanade Recital Studio until Monday, 6 Oct. Get your tickets through the SISTIC website or by calling the SISTIC hotline (63485555).

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aMaze Me!

We had a bit of time after visiting Sensorium 360° so we swung by the Esplanade to check out aMaze Me! by Tay Bee Aye. aMaze Me! is a live-art installation and is part of Esplanade’s Octoburst 2014 programme. It invites people of all ages (though kids are the ones most drawn to it) to help create a maze by knotting pieces of ribbon anywhere they like. The result is an ever-changing, colourful, beautiful mess that the kids love climbing through.

It reminded me somewhat of the Singapore Art Festival’s Tangled a few years back where people were given balls of coloured yarn to throw around to create a colourful maze-like space as well.

The boys had a very good time tying ribbons and going through the maze. It was great that the kids were given more than one length of ribbon as I think most kids would want to do it again, and again, and again! I was also glad to see that there were many people on hand to guide the kids and teach them how to knot the ribbons. Yes, I could do that, but it’s kinda tricky to climb in while nursing Alyssa :)

Knotty boy!

Knotty boy!

Navigating his way through the maze

Navigating his way through the maze

Having come from Sensorium 360° where the kids had to stick within the bounds of what was deemed acceptable within the designated art space, often being told not to do this, or touch that by the museum staff, I was happy that Ellery’s idea to tie a ribbon around a nearby tree trunk was not immediately dismissed, and in fact he was helped with the process. He wanted to create a bridge for the ants, and spent quite some time devising a way to make the bridge stronger.

Ant bridge engineer

Ant bridge engineer

The boys said they wished the ribbons were strong enough to climb on. That would be interesting wouldn’t it? Then the structure would be like those spider web climbing structures at playgrounds. As it was quite a windy day I thought it’d be interesting to hang chimes or little bells on some of the ribbons too. It would add another dimension to the installation and the sound of chimes tinkling harmoniously would be so beautiful!

Climbing around

Climbing around

"Look Mummy! No hands!"

“Look Mummy! No hands!”

I had thought aMaze was only on this weekend, but apparently it’s on next week too. As we’re catching next week’s Dance Appreciation Series: Introduction to Ballet Classics, we’ll probably come back to take a look at aMaze Me! again to see how it’s morphed. It’ll be more fun next week as the maze would probably have become even more complicated, and even more colourful! The day we were there most of the ribbons were yellow and orange, but they’ll be giving out more colours in the coming days.

aMaze Me! is set up at Esplanade’s Courtyard Green
27 & 28 Sep, Sat & Sun, 11am – 7pm
3 – 6 Oct, Fri – Mon, 11am – 7pm

You can go to the Octoburst website to find out more details on the other activities. Giant snakes and ladders sounds fun!

Climbing is the order of the day apparently

They just had to do this before we left. It’s one of their favourite things to do whenever we’re at the Esplanade.

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