On Creating A Sense of Home

On Saturday, March 18, Flushing Town Hall will present Treehouse Shakers‘ Olive & Pearl” A Magical Story of Home. Treehouse Shakers’ Artistic Director Mara McEwin gave us a preview on what’s in store.

On Creating a Sense of Home

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By Mara McEwin

Following the wonderful success of Hatched, our piece for babies & toddlers, I wanted to create another piece for the very early years that had been stirring with me for a long time. Olive & Pearl, created as a first introduction into live theater, explores the deeper meaning of home, which is a fundamental staple of a young person’s happiness and well-being.

Olive & Pearl, written by Mara McEwin, and choreography by Emily Bunning, follows the gentle story of a little girl, Olive and her loving grandmother, Pearl as they go throughout their day. Intimately staged, audiences are invited to sit within Granny’s home, and explore the primary feelings of what it means to be truly at home.

Throughout their day the characters play, go on an imaginary journey to the moon, sing songs, and dance. Granny recants stories of her own childhood home, while sharing rhymes and poetry. Simply and elegantly told, Olive & Pearl incorporates movement that is woven throughout the piece, which incorporates the familial ties between the characters. Additional characters are portrayed through puppetry, layering further meanings of home: a robin in a nest, a fish in its bowl, and a mouse in its hole.

An original and live music score by Anthony Rizzo delicately plays underneath, combining traditional string instruments and melodies of Bluegrass, Irish Fiddle, and lullabies. The storytelling is both rich and inviting to be enjoyed by not only the very young, but also knit_olive_pearl_055_retouch_flat_2by their adult companions. We want Olive & Pearl to be a first experience of live theater, music, and dance, while at the same time giving young people the highest quality production of artistic work.

I like to say that Olive & Pearl will be going home for this premiere.

We created and the explored the initial structure of this piece through a generous FTH space grant given to us in the fall of 2015. The space grant allowed us to explore, improvise, discuss and expand some of our initial thoughts, which helped to inform the script, choreography and music. It is such an honor to premiere Olive & Pearl at Flushing Town Hall this March.

On March 18, the family show will be held twice – at 11:00 AM and 2:15 PM, and be preceededby puppetry workshops at 10:15 AM and 1:30 PM. Learn more about the performance, and purchase tickets by visiting us here, and visit us here to reserve spots in the workshops.

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