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Memorable theatre experience: a big bang and Madam President

In April, the children living in Estonian substitute homes and shelters visited the musical “Oliver” performed at theatre Endla in Pärnu. The famous story, set in modern language of word, music and dance, completely absorbed both, the bigger and smaller theatre-goers.

As always, the tales about Oliver Twist were read from the book and the homepage of the theatre examined beforehand.

In a family with a hearing-impaired child, for whom it is very difficult to understand what is spoken on stage, there is always a tradition to take a complete tour on the homepage of the play before visiting the theatre. When the “homework” is done well, the children will not get bored and the story will roll out more tellingly.

The same family has another child who is afraid of big bangs - also she was informed well in advance that there will be at least one BIG bang in the play.

Spring in Pärnu made children cheerful

As the performance “Oliver” began only at 7 p.m., all families had a good opportunity to look around in Pärnu and take family photos in the spring capital. Some families found time to walk in the park, by the river and get to know the most important sites in Pärnu. This time, photographing was an especially exciting experience for the kids – they demonstrated all sorts of cool poses. There was laughter and fun on the bun, and the families admitted afterwards that they were pleased about the exciting and funny family pictures they got from the photoshoot.

Theatre building and celebrities

For some families, this was their first visit to the Endla theatre. So, they had to take the opportunity and get more closely acquainted with the theatre building. The children liked that there were so many corners, stairs and rooms. They looked curiously at the photos of actors hanging on the wall and tried to recall who they had seen before - who were familiar and who not. One of the kids had just had an assignment at school where they had to recognise the celebrities of Estonia. Now they could go over the topic: the children found quite a few familiar faces. One of the girls wondered how the children get to play at the theatre. There were discussions about casting, that is finding the cast, dividing the roles and auditions.

Cool production tailored to young people

The show was enchanting and the children really loved it. Its musical side was cool and tailored to young people; the play used a lot of gestures and words inherent to today’s youth. During the second act, the long-awaited bang came so suddenly that the fearful child didn’t even have time to get scared.
Mari said that she will recommend the play also to her class teacher so they could see it together with the class. She is prepared to watch it again any time.

The children laughed loudly several times during the performance and more serious places were followed with great interest. The youngest of one family got tired at the end of the play, yet was awakened by a gunshot. Although due to the language barrier, some Russian-speaking kids did not understand everything, they still could make sense of the songs and dances without words - nobody complained that they could not understand what was happening on stage or that it was boring.

The story of the orphan was most striking

A 13-year-old young man liked especially the acting of Oliver and the community messenger, Mr. Bumble, who was played by Priit Loog. After the performance, the young man got an autograph of his favourites and took a photo with them. The teacher said that although this boy often has difficulties with following the plays, this time he understood the story well and even wanted to start reading the book of Oliver Twist. He really loved the music and dances.

The teacher of another family wrote that for the children, this play had hit the spot – at some point, it recalled their own painful memories but then again, they had a full belly laugh. The kids found that in old days, the life of orphans was really very difficult and they always had to struggle to survive. They were also surprised that there were actually kids playing in the performance.

The President was there as well!

The presence of the Estonian President caused a lot of excitement among kids. They were SO proud about sitting in the same theatre hall with Kersti Kaljulaid. The children had the opportunity to greet Madam President and wish her Happy Holidays. They could also get an autograph with inscription on their programme!

The children were naturally excited also about meeting the actors after the show: the kids took autographs on their hands as well as paper. The courageous Oliver was the favourite character of many children - it was so cool to meet him after the play.

Everyone had the possibility to “feel” their favourites with their hands. A picture was taken together with the actors but also with their own families.

What did the children think?

Maarika: “The play was so cute. I loved the good music; it gave me energy.” Roger: “It was good to get out of Tallinn for a change. The photoshoot was fun - we jumped and sprang.”
Also, the children liked to walk along the promenade – meeting the sea and the beach was a first-time experience for many of them. The impressions about the play they saw, the Endla theatre building, and the beautiful city of Pärnu lasted throughout the journey home. The children exchanged information about whose autographs they got and summed up their “catch” – the more, the merrier!
Everyone agreed that it was a magnificent and memorable day.

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