So I walked away from free beer tonight. Let me tell you all about it.
Got an invite to head over to Lebreton Flats tonight and check out the opening shenanigans for the 19th annual OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAl, which sounded pretty swell as I still had never managed to make it out to this festival, ever. I know, right? Well, this year was the year, and I managed to find the tent in question, and tried my hardest not to look like a total creep, standing there by myself with a shaved head and black trenchcoat amidst a sea of little children. It wasn’t easy, I don’t mind saying, but fortunately, someone even more out of place came along and distracted everyone.
That, of course, was one of the giant-sized dino-puppets from ERTH’S DINOSAUR ZOO, a show that came all the way from Australia to impress the hell out of children and their parents. It seemed to be working out pretty well for them so far. After that coolness, me and th rest of the sold-out opening crowd filled the beans out of Tent #1 to catch the main show of the evening, Imago’s FROGZ. A sweet physical theatre team outta the US of A, Imago does indeed start the show off with a trio of Frogs getting all wacky up in the space, but that’s only the beginning. The show expands to include babies vs balls, penguins playing musical chairs, dueling concertinas, and a paper bag that must be seen to be believed. It was a heck of an impressive show from some clearly ridiculously capable performers. And the kids seemed to dig it almost as much as me…lucky for them there’s a lot more shows to catch over the next few days. More theatre out of Australia with KAPUT, England’s THE CITY AND IRIS, and homegrown goodness like PINOCCHIO DANS MA VALISE, A LA BELLE ETOILE, and I ON THE SKY. Plus multiple tents filled with activities and music, including Kristina Watt’s celebrated 100 WATT Earth Stage…right now is a good time to be a kid in Ottawa, folks. And as the organizers proudly reminded us, this is the ONLY festival of its kind in all of Ontario, so let’s take advantage, hokay?
After the show was a big reception in the dining tent, with food courtesy of Detroit Soul Food and, like I mentioned, free beer. But as dark and low as I may be these days, I am apparently not SO dark and low that I’m going to start drinking alone in a tent full of children. I politely made my escape, instead taking the time to figure out how I can manage to come back and catch a few more shows before it’s all over on Wednesday. If little kids can do it, then by fun, so can I! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)