I had a set of Russian dolls as a child and loved them. I would pull out a doll out of each hollow body, sort them, nest them back together, only to start all over again. Today I can see with my own children the fascination this nesting system brings to them. There is something puzzling and magical about creating multiplicity out of a single object.
This is this magical and fascinating effect that we are trying to recreate for our set: with as few props as possible, we want the Child (Polycolor's main character) to literally build the world he is acting out.
On a table, the Child progressively builds up the background in which he is evolving with materials at hand. From a variety of blocks, cylinders, cones and pyramids, and with different systems of nesting, rotation and stacking, he slowly builds a multidimensional world that we hope will surprise, fascinate and capture our audience's imagination.
When creating Polycolor, we unknowingly pushed the nesting concept even further since it turns out that Polycolor is in fact a play within a play: it is the story of a child, who is acting out a make-believe, transforming as he plays along familiar and nondescript elements into a grandiose backdrop for the story he has become part of.
As you know, we are hard at work hatching "Polycolor", our new production based on Robert Neubecker's children book Courage of the Blue Boy.
How did we get here?
A few years back, Jane and I discovered a translation of Robert's book in the French magazine Tralalire. We loved it immediately. The illustrations were just perfect for kids to relate to, naive and colorful, yet full of clever details. The story line was simple enough to be understood by the youngest ones and yet brought much deeper thoughts about travels, differences and multiculturalism. We started using Le courage du petit garcon bleu in our M. Moustache class on a very simple level to teach the colors in French. Jane kept mentioning how much she liked the story and when we started brainstorming for a new show, it actually was a no-brainer: it had to be Blue Boy!
I found Robert's contact info on his website www.neubecker.com, e-mailed him to share our idea; and to our surprise, we immediately received an enthusiastic response! We got in touch with his agent, secured the adaptation rights, et voila!
We promised Robert to keep him posted with the progress of our project, and can't wait to hear his first feed-backs. We'll let you know.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out some of his many children books, they would make a perfect gift for the young or young-at-heart you love.