Guest artist Bruce Smith left the stage sweating after today’s rehearsal for Balloonacy, a theatre for the very young production to benefit the Preschool/Kindergarten scholarship fund. The most strenuous physical moment of the show is a fight between his character and…a balloon. He reports that he had to fight the balloon because it has just been picking on him since the word go. It even made a mess of his room.
Because Balloonacy is geared toward young audiences, the play is simply music and action in a broad and physical style of comedy. Bruce thought that it would be nice to not have to memorize any lines, but after initial work with director Samaria Fleig and musician Jennifer Bennett, he realized that performing a story using action alone would be a challenge. He was drawn to the task of reacting with a balloon that he also has to control for any tricks it might do. As an artist, Bruce enjoys the dialogue of musician, actor, and the very young audience.
Bruce began performing for young audiences in Topeka as part of the Bath House Players, a troupe of children performing for children. There he learned children are the most honest audience you’ll ever have. He continued performing for young audiences as a student at Washburn University and then with the Topeka Civic Theatre series for young audiences. Of the young audience for which Ballonacy is crafted, Bruce says, “I like working for children. They’re a fun audience, and their imagination will let us go wherever we want to go. They are willing to play. Theatre is not a one way street, it’s an interactive art.”
Bruce Smith and musician Jennifer Bennett will perform Balloonacy on January 21 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets available at https://lawrenceartscenter.org/event/balloonacy/.