Stagetime & Juice: November 2015

Stagetime & Juice:
Stage Time and Juice is held only once every two months. In the past 4 months (3 Juices) we’ve been in the rather amusing position of seeing our performance area double in size, moving from the drapery enclosed confines of our Da An Road Aveda Learning Kitchen location to the high-ceilinged, brightly lit space of The Library at the Taipei Air Force Innovation Base. I still remember last year when the kids were momentarily transplanted from The Learning Kitchen to HuaShan Cultural Park for the 5th anniversary. Things didn’t go smoothly and I was worried about how the kids would react to the larger space. Oddly enough, this year I took our continual spatial expansion in a stride.

Part of the reason may be due to the fact that our little performers are expanding spatially too. Not only are the ones who got on the stage at the very inception of Juice experiencing physical growth spurts, but they are also accumulating life experience, some of it on the stage of the Red Room. When we started three years ago, we didn’t expect much and were happy to see that kids were just willing to get on the stage. At this moment I can feel that we have finally reached an important turning point: the young veteran performers are at a point of awareness where they can start to ask the question, “Now that I have this platform, where can I take it?”

One high school student invited members of his school choir to perform. Another did a duet with her tiny sibling, both of them wearing matching outfits. One boy attempted his first vocal solo (and ended up finishing without background music due to a technical failure, but the audience immediately cheered and clapped him along!) Those who usually sang, presented a skit. A little girl read poems, and her brother performed a couple of magic tricks. A puppeteer tried out a new and larger puppet that she had never performed with before.

One mom approached me after her kids’ performances and mentioned that the whole family felt a little frustrated that things had not gone the way they planned. I told her that I hoped her kids would hang in there and keep coming back and trying to experiment with their performance. Juice is not about product, but rather about process. The show grows, the kids grow, even the grownups that come and help run an activity or perform are part of the effort to achieve something that they hadn’t done before. Jet Wu, who led the animation activity, had to push himself and his staff to produce something that could engage a live audience. It required a lot of rethinking about how he usually did animation workshops. Arsene the Magician has evolved over the years from routines prepared to upbeat music, to actually calling up volunteers on the stage and interacting with them. For the first time at our anniversary show, The Awesome Playgroup News left the printed format, and turned its contents into an engaging game.

The theme of our anniversary show was “Illusions and Obfuscations” but what we saw unfolding before us was no mirage. We saw a whole spectrum of performers, from struggling beginners to seasoned professionals, all working together on the same stage to achieve the same goal: positivity, generosity, and happiness.

I would like to remind everyone that Stage Time and Juice is a gift that has been given to us by The Red Room. We bring ourselves, we bring juice and snacks (if we remember), we bring our listening ears and our hearts. We bring our personal aspirations and ambitions, or something that we want to share. Don’t come here expecting to be entertained. Come here because you want to be an active part of our international village that creates good and positive things in the world!

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