I saw the trailer for this recently thanks to the attentive Lorna Appleby (thanks again, Lorna!) and I can hardly wait. It opens in Canada on Christmas Day! What more could I want?
Clever animation + comedy + rabbits + magic + Scottish islands... who could honestly ask for any better combination?
I suppose many people could. But not me. I have a cinema gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and I think I've found what I'll redeem it for. Interestingly Snowdon (the white rabbit) has taken to lying on the throw rug in front of the television at times, legs stretched behind him, facing the screen. Not that that in itself is interesting, but he only seems to do it during action movies or creepy shows like Supernatural. Put on a comedy and he sneaks away or turns his back and starts investigating his genitals or looking for something to chew holes in.
The Trickster Project is a brilliant thing. Put together under the auspices of the Calgary International Children's Festival, it consists of a superb collection of professional entertainers who (in this specific case) spend a week at the school on the Eden Valley First Nations Reserve, about an hour or so south-west of Calgary in an idyllic spot. That's this photo - the instructors in front of the school.
They shut the school down for a week - no lessons at all - and we move in. The kids spend four days learning juggling, tightwire, unicycling, stiltwalking, magic, clowning, balancing, hip hop dancing and aerial work (hoop and swinging trapeze), and on the fifth day they put on a choreographed show in front of the entire community in the school gymnasium. This is the second consecutive year we've done Trickster at this location so most of the kids are building on skills they started with last year. Quite remarkable progress in some cases.
I decided to go bigger this year, and introduced escapology to my groups. By the end of the week I had a handful of the older kids doing a wonderful thumb-tie + mail-bag escape in only seconds. The thumb-ties we used were standard black plastic cable ties; while one student ties another's thumbs together I handed out a couple to the audience to examine. Best moment of the week: one of the fathers decided to test the cable-tie himself while watching the show. After our act he sheepishly came up to me with his thumbs firmly cinched together; it took us five minutes to find a pair of side-cutters to free him with.
At least it proved they were real.
As I happen to live in a small town only 30 minutes from the reserve (unlike most of the other instructors who are from elsewhere in Alberta, and in some cases Toronto and Vancouver as well), on Halloween night I saw a handful of 'my' kids come to my door trick-or-treating.