The National Children’s Theatre (NCT) is running their productions of Seussical Jr and Balloonacy this christmas. The NCT presents live theatre throughout the year from their campus in Johannesburg, which comprises two indoor theatres, an outdoor theatre, a puppet theatre, music room, and classrooms for weekend workshops and holiday camps. With these Seussical Jr and Balloonacy NCT continues their tradition of nourishing and entertaining the people of Johannesburg.
Seussical Jr and Balloonacy are made for children and their guardians and those among us that are still young enough at heart to laugh from the tickle of physical comedy and smile at the beautiful colours of innocence.
Seussical Jr which opened on the 30th of October follows Horton, an elephant who hears voices coming from a speck of dust, wherein exists the smallest planet in the universe. A miniscule species known as the Who populates it, which Horton must protect from danger and detractors who cannot see it. The elephant is ridiculed for believing in an invisible world on his journey through the Jungle of Nool to McEligott’s Pool. Jojo, tiny “thinker of strange and wonderful thinks”, is a boy who also falls under the elephant’s protection along the way. Their adventures thematise cooperation, tolerance and diversity. The honesty and loyalty of true friendship is another lesson viewers can take home with them.
Recently opened for a slightly shorter run from the 6th to the 22nd of December at the Inspiration Theatre is Balloonacy. The 45-minute mime show is written by Barry Kornhauser, the award-winning playwright, director and educator known for his stellar contribution to the cultural enrichment of children.
Craig Morris plays the lead role of the solitary old man who grumpily acknowledges his birthday when a magical balloon appears at his window. By letting it into his home, his inflexible habits begin to loosen, bringing colour and companionship into his erstwhile dreary life.
Balloonacy is a speechless, one-performer show that draws on the physical comedy of mime and clowning to generate humour and pathos. The absence of dialogue enables audiences as young as two to follow the action, and imaginatively embrace the friendship between a senior citizen and an inanimate object. If anyone is capable of such empathy it is the innocent among us.
Balloonacy, written by Barry Kornhauser and performed by Craig Morris features sets designed by Lisa Younger and Seussical Jr features sets designed by Sarah Roberts. The shows will run at the National Children’s theatre in Johannesburg until December 22nd.