North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre (PHT) presents the premiere of the children’s theatre production Learning and Forgetting, a co-production with Mexican puppeteers Marionetas de la Esqina.
Eva and her brother are helping Grandpa on moving day. Eva is excited to learn new words and ideas. Her beloved Grandpa forgets – his memories and words aren’t close at hand anymore. But that doesn’t keep them from playing in the present and creating new stories together. This joyful theatrical experience for kids ages 3-7 explores intergenerational love with warmth, laughter & puppetry.
Originally to premiere in April 2020, the production was delayed due to the pandemic. That delay forced the two theatre companies to pursue developing the show over Zoom, which certainly had challenges but also allowed the story to unfold in unexpected ways, ultimately strengthening it.
“This project has been one of the most inspirational and theatrically powerful experiences of my career,” says director and collaborator Kim Selody. “The bravery and generosity of the creative team has moved me throughout the entire process. The show has turned out to be exciting, funny, unpredictable, beautiful, and moving; all the things we look for when we go to the theatre. It could only have been created by this unique combination of artists and the life experiences we brought to it.”
That unique combination includes a Canadian cast performing for the first half of the run and a Mexican cast for the second. As well, each show features a different actor playing the Grandpa. Completely unrehearsed, it allows Grandpa’s confusion to be quite genuine.
“The combination of projected visuals, imaginative puppetry and whimsical music really help transport us into the world that Eva and Grandpa create,” continues Selody. “The kids in the audience are so excited to become part of that world.”
As a company specializing in theatre for young audiences, PHT knows that these shows are often a child’s first live theatre experience. “And that in itself is a little bit of magic,” says Selody. “People often tell me that they still remember their first trip here, with their parents or on a school field trip. Those memories are really what Learning and Forgetting is all about.”
Presentation House Theatre and Marionetas de la Esqina present Learning and Forgetting at Presentation House Theatre (333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver) from April 28 through May 7. Visit phtheatre.org for tickets and information.