Who isn’t familiar with the busy life of wombats? It goes something like: sleep, eat grass, sleep, sleep some more, eat grass, scratch.
The award-winning picture book Diary of a Wombat, by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, has charmed young – and not only young – people around the world since it was first published in 2002.
Now fans can see the story brought to life with puppetry and live music when Four Winds bring the show to the Bermagui Community Centre at 11 am on Saturday, April 8.
The show follows the adventures of Mothball – the naughtiest wombat in Australia.
Mothball goes in search of shelter and food, creating chaos in the lives of the humans around her. Doormats, bins and washing lines are no match for this mischievous marsupial.
Author Jackie French had an opportunity to preview the show and work with the artists involved.
“It was amazing. Extraordinary,” Ms French said.
“The preview audience ranged from two to 98. There were gasps. People were just staring – stunned.”
At the end of the preview, which was just a few scenes and not the entire play, the audience was dead silent for about 40 seconds before erupting in a standing ovation.
“There was almost a strike by the kids, refusing to leave,” Ms French said.
“They wanted more.”
Ms French said the performers were employing a new theatrical technique, using 3D technology to create the puppets.
“The main wombat they used was just so realistic,” Ms French said.
“There was a scene where the wombat attacks a doormat. You can see every muscle twitch and quiver as the wombat prepares to pounce. The tension in the theatre at that moment sent a chill down your spine.”
Ms French acknowledged more than technical skills brought the book to life: the story itself – the relationship that develops between two species who can never understand each other – has wide appeal.
“It tells how two humans and a wombat learn to co-exist,” Ms French said.
“For me, I loved Mothball very much.
“Indeed, it was very strange for me to see her again – the puppet is so realistic, so like her – I found myself having a bit of cry. Tears of joy and sorrow,” she said.
Four Winds decided to bring the Monkey Baa’s production of Diary of a Wombat to Bermagui as a part of their program dedicated to educational performances for children.
Four Winds create and inspire producer Lara Crew said Four Winds aims to provide creative opportunities for young people in this region to be inspired by live theatre and arts.”
Monkey Baa Director Eva Di Cesare said she had assembled an extraordinary team of artists to bring the iconic picture book to life.
“Diary of a Wombat is such an enduring childhood classic and audiences are going to fall in love with Mothball all over again when she burrows her way on to our stage,” Ms Di Cesare said.
More information: www.fourwinds.com.au/whats-on
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