A BOOK by famed children’s author, artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers provided the inspiration for a new children’s show bound for the Lime Tree Theatre in June.
Croí á Mhúscailt - Awakening the Heart - is a bilingual puppet show by the acclaimed Branar Theatre Company, who are specifically funded to produce children’s theatre in Ireland.
Directed by Marc Mac Lochlainn, who founded Branar some 12 years ago, Awakening the Heart comes to the Lime Tree at the end of an Irish tour and after making waves internationally, notably in Denmark.
In fact, the stunning production features just four lines of speech, with the 40 minute play preferring to focus on the visual impact of the puppets themselves, designed and made by Suse Reibisch.
“Marc likes to tell stories in a visual way, or through music, but that it doesn’t have to be reliant on text really, and for children, they respond really well to that, as do adults,” explains Joanne Beirne, general manager of Branar and well known to Limerick theatre circles as former artistic director of the Belltable.
“Oliver’s book is called a Heart in a Bottle. In it, a girl and her grandfather’s relationship is played out, and then one day, she runs into him and his chair is empty,” explains Joanne.
The piece follows the little girl as she remembers and re-imagines her grandfather, in the process helping her grandmother come to terms with her grief.
“This is for children aged seven upwards, but it is suitable for families and school audiences,” says Joanne.
“It is a beautiful piece and very emotive, but very heart warming, it is lovely. The grandmother is brought out of her grief by the little girl and it is about how people respond to this kind of thing - everyone can relate to it in some way.”
The puppets themselves are the stars of the show, and Joanne explains that they, and the performers, have the “remarkable ability to manipulate and make you believe the story”.
Awakening the Heart runs in the Lime Tree on Wednesday, June 5 at 6pm and Thursday, June 6 at 10.30am and 12pm.