It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

In Baz’s upcoming play Prophesy the Baz ensemble of adult actors will have to portray the world of children and the more I observe the workshops, the more I appreciate what a complicated and fascinating process this is. Drama is all about overcoming obstacles and therefore in Baz’s work understanding how children deal with the difficulties they face is key.

My day job as a nanny means I get to watch children problem-solve first hand, and the different choices they make are fascinating as well as funny. One day I picked up a four year old from nursery after a few weeks of looking after him and he greeted me confidently with “Hello Paula!”  Bemused, as my name is Anne, I asked him why he called me Paula. He became very serious and told me “I forgot what your name was and I didn’t want to hurt your feelings so I decided to call you Paula.”

But adults and children are not inhabiting the same reality, which can be demonstrated by a story from one of the Baz actors; when playing with his three year old son outside they heard a lawn mower start in the neighbouring garden. His son listened tensely for a moment, before shaking his head muttering, “No, not pirates”.

Playing a child is more complicated than putting hair in pigtails and turning in toes – it is embracing a whole different way of thinking, of feeling, of viewing the world. They are not born knowing the rules, they learn them through exploring and there is a vast divide between the behaviour of children and adults. On the first day of looking after a five year old, the boy showed me how he liked to use his father’s electric toothbrush to scratch his back and clean his feet. I suggested that he should stop and he agreed, telling me “Daddy doesn’t like me playing with his toothbrush.” No, I don’t suppose he does. One man’s cleaning tool is another child’s toy.

The way children express themselves, think and behave is endlessly fascinating and I can’t wait to see how Baz deals with the early years of some of the most famous names in the world.

 

Anne – Baz Curator

 

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