Lastega ja lastele

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Tunnustusauhinna taotluste voor on avatud 15. aprillini.

Esita taotlus

How long will Buratino's nose be?

During the last weekend of May, the non-profit association SEB Heategevusfond invited children from Estonian orphanages and shelters to take part in the wonderful theatre magic at the Estonian National Opera, in which Olav Ehala's family-friendly musical Buratino premiered. Children got to wander around the backstage world and meet the general manager and the composer of the show.

This theatre visit was slightly different because it was a premiere: Estonian National Opera was more festive and a lot of actors that the children recognised from TV, were seen around the building.

A well-known story in a new form

The families were looking forward to the theatre day. Before the show, children were refreshing their knowledge about the wooden doll Buratino/Pinoccio at home because the joy of recognition gives something extra to the experience. It is always fun to compare how different or similar something the writer has written is compared to how the director depicts the story as a performance.

Most of the children had read Buratino before, seen the TV performance or the cartoon. They were well aware that Buratino is a wooden doll who has a long nose and whose father is papa Carlo. Therefore, some of the smart ones had a small prejudice against the performance, but there is nothing new there – they had seen Buratino on TV sooo many times! It is known that a well-known story can take on a new form in theatre. On the way to Tallinn, they were discussing why Buratino has a long nose and why Malvina has blue hair.

In one family, the children were reading The Golden Key before travelling to the show, and each one also drew a picture. Another family was talking about a joint family feeling and the lovely opportunity to spend a day with the entire family. It was recalled that the Estonian National Opera is the Estonian national theatre and that the theatre building is already over a hundred years old. Going to the theatre is a great honour; the tickets are quite expensive and they are not always available as there are so many who want one. They were also talking about different cultures and how Estonians are very proud of their opera house.

Music brought the story closer

Before the performance started, the children had a lot to look at. The fiery ones looked for their family's seats, and more experienced theatregoers already knew where to get seat pads. These appeared on the seats incredibly quickly. Before the performance started, there was also time to look through the programme. Kert immediately started to solve the crossword in the programme and study the characters. It was possible to open the programme up and see how long Buratino's nose would be... Over three pages!

Older and younger children were both cheering for the performance. During the first act, the children were eager to answer the questions asked by the actors. The songs were already familiar to some and the dance performances made them laugh – especially the dance of the frogs.

The performance was humorous, colourful and educational. There were parts in which children were laughing wholeheartedly. Some children, who do not usually sit still, forgot to fidget and were like rocks when looking at the activities on stage. The design of the performance was also new and interesting, keeping their eyes on the stage.

The point of the evergreen story was understood by children as well: Buratino did dumb things and his friends "taught" him how things should be done. Buratino's father papa Carlo really wanted the boy to study and become wise. And all of this took place against the background of fascinating music and dances, which brought the story closer to those children who do not understand Estonian very well yet.

When the performance ended, the children clapped intently. It was so important to express their happiness and appreciation by clapping their hands together as loudly as they could! If during the first act some asked "When will this end?", by the end of the second act, even the most restless ones were smiling and saying that "It was quite fun!".

What happened to Buratino's hat?

Every child had their own favourite but Buratino was liked by everybody – especially his long nose! Aleksandr was still wondering three days after the performance what material the nose on the actor was made of and how it stayed on his face. And can people really have such long noses? While the teacher thought that long noses like Buratino’s had in the performance could not exist in real life, the boy was still wondering about whether it was possible…

Some of the other favourites included Basilio the Cat and Alice the Fox who, according to their characteristics, used their cleverness to get what they want – make the money tree grow. Egrit liked the cat and the fox but at the same time, she was happy that Buratino finally got his money back and everything ended well.

The performance was educational in many ways: the children understood that going to school and setting goals to strive for in life is important. There were some thought-provoking situations and some that made them laugh. The interesting play of lights and shadows was also impressive.

Laura said that she really likes to dance, and that is why she was watching what was happening on stage with great interest – both the substance and form of the performance in which, besides the dance, the fancy clothes of the characters were also impressive – especially Malvina's dress. The girl said that she felt bad for Buratino because he believed the cat and gave up his money. She also felt bad for Pierrot who was always sad and unhappy.

Tiiu was also carefully watching the choreography. She especially liked this performance because the premiere was festive, showing the theatre as a real wonderland. The children were interested in taking a peek at the composer Olav Ehala, who was sitting in the hall and who has written many children's songs that are close to their heart.

The 9-year-old Egrit thought that it was quite sad that Buratino did not have a hat. Marika felt the same way – she also missed the familiar top hat. The 13-year-old Kevin liked the beautiful songs and costumes, and especially Malvina who sang so well!

Why does Malvina have two boyfriends?

Marek really liked that there were a lot of songs and music. Because it was awesome and made him happy. From the characters, Marek's favourite was Buratino whose biggest wish was to go to school and become a human. Marek got an idea to make a wooden Buratino for himself. The boy thought that the Cat was nice and Buratino's friend. But Marek did not like the Fox because he seemed evil.

Riko said that he liked everything and it certainly looked like it. Riko wanted to know what the teacher liked the most, and the teacher replied that it was papa Carlo's song and the way the story ended.

Kert liked the robbers and police dogs the most. Kevin liked papa Carlo's opening and closing song. And of course, the gorgeous Malvina who sang so beautifully! Säde just said that the performance was cool. She really liked the ending of the story, how papa Carlo got the golden key back and opened the secret door behind which there was a magic world – puppetry.

The children had to explain some things to the teachers. In one family, the children knew who Pierrot and Artemon were better. The teacher did not understand why Malvina had two boyfriends. The children explained to her that they were Malvina's friends and one of them – Artemon – was her dog friend.

During the Pipi performance, Laura could not understand whether the action was taking place in real life or whether the people on stage were wearing costumes, but today she already understood that what was happening on stage was a play performed by actors in costumes. Real life is not confused with the fairy tale world anymore.

What happens if one cannot tell the time in the theatre…

Even though some children have previously had the chance to look around the backstage worlds of other Estonian theatres, there is always something new to discover. Those who had never participated in backstage tours were even more excited.

The children got to go backstage and see how the actors prepared for the musical. The backstage tour included showing the orchestra pit and the workshop in which the shoes of actors are made and fairy tale-like clothes are sewn. The children were listening intently when the guide was talking about sewing clothes. They remembered that it is important to be able to tell the time because if an actor does not show up to the fitting on time, everybody's work is put on hold.

They also visited the small and big painting hall in which decorations and props necessary for the performance are made. It was even allowed to peek into the wardrobes of actors and the make-up room. It was so great to see everything with their own eyes! A special feeling arose backstage. Kristiina liked the magical building of the Estonian National Opera most, with its winding and mysterious corridors where a stranger could get lost in. And the rooms where the magic of theatre begins.

This time, children also got to meet the general director of Estonian National Opera Aivar Mäe backstage who personally greeted the guests.

An educational story that made one think

After the show, children got to put together a meal for themselves at Lido. Lido restaurant was a big hit amongst the children. Those who were age appropriate and able, were glad to use food coupons. There was a lot of working out but cooperation went smoothly for the most part, and all of the desired meals were received.

On the way back, they were reading the Buratino book they received as a present. As they had just seen the show, they immediately noticed small differences between what they saw on stage and what was written in the book.

The family that was drawing pictures before the performance, organised a discussion to compare the book and the performance: new pictures were added to the ones drawn before the performance. The terrific exhibition was put up on the walls of the room.

Buratino's story is very educational and helps one to remember how important it is to have a good heart and friends, with whom slightly more dangerous adventures can end well. This story allows a discussion to be had on different topics, for instance, "How to become a person and stay one" or "Goodness and evil within and around us". It is obvious that a good heart allows a lot of good to be done, but sometimes one has to be a little bit clever…

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