I just got back from entertaining in my capacity as Diane’s Puppets at a clients birthday party. It was a joy. I love my work ( how many people out there can hand on heart honestly say that?) as it brings me such joy to see children having such a good time.
Adults make the most polite audiences: if they like you, they clap and shout Encore! If they don’t like you, they still clap ( probably not as enthusiastically, but they still clap). It is sometimes hard to gauge your performance with an audience of adults.
Not so with children.
Children are different, they do not have that applied veneer of manners and social niceties.
They are simple in their needs: if they don’t like you, they just walk away.
If they don’t like you, and there are toys around, guess who gets the vote? The toys.
If they don’t like you and there is space to run around, they run around, usually screaming.
If they don’t like you and there is food, they eat, or if they really don’t like you, the food gets thrown … at you.
The list of distractions is endless but suffice it to say, an audience largely made up of children can be, to some, an intimidating prospect.
You see, even knowing all this, knowing that I could walk into a party and literally fall flat on my face in front of an audience ( and then get covered in popcorn etc) I’m still excited to go to work.
Because when it goes right there is no pay off like it. When children get you , they GET you. They feed off your every word, spellbound and entranced.
When they like you they give you untold attention, follow you around the room wanting more. They join you in the shared magic that is the imagination world of puppetry, believing in the shared knowledge that the monkey may puppet not be real , but for that moment the experience of that monkey is real.
A birthday gift is always good to receive, but for me, every time I go to a birthday party I am showered with untold gifts of laughter from my precious unsophisticated ( aka genuine) child audiences.
As I was leaving the party , climbing into my taxi , tired and satisfied, little Ry-ry came running up to me.
‘Will you come back to my 5 birthday?” he eagerly asked and continued: ” Will you come tomorrow, will you come the next day? ”
That’s all the encore I need.