To celebrate the Red Room’s seventh anniversary, and to mark the twentieth Stage Time and Juice, the creative team put together a lineup that would combine elements both new and old. For those unfamiliar with our history, Stage Time and Juice was created as a junior version of Stage Time and Wine, the Red Room’s famous open mic show that takes place on the third Saturday of every month. Juice was intended to serve as an incubation forum to help children and teenagers achieve the expressiveness and confidence necessary to evolve into Stage Time and Wine performers. It seemed an ambitious undertaking, one that the founding parents involved were not sure could be achieved.
Three years later, Stage Time and Juice seems to have made its mark: we now have a small but growing group of steady performers who have been bitten by the performance bug. For the anniversary, we reached out to these “Juicers” personally and asked whether they would be brave enough to share something with the anticipated larger audience. The response was enthusiastic: Michael, Maggie, Sarah, and Elisa would appear as an ensemble, the siblings Kanoa and Kailer would share a song, Nicole would perform with her guitar, Jayde and Alyssa would appear for the first time playing the ukulele, and Zosia would read something. The Margo twins were newcomers who joined in at the last minute, declaring their intention to play a few songs on the keyboard. This was the first time the Juicers performed on the unfamiliar elevated stage in a tent, and we did receive some feedback about nerves and unexpected challenges, but all in all it was agreed to be a rewarding experience for both performers and audience alike. First time attendees were impressed by the level of talent, and a comment we often heard repeated was
“I can’t believe that we waited until NOW to come!”
Apart from the superb lineup for open mic, we also attained a special milestone this November: Juicer Jayde decided that she would give being an emcee a try. Her mom frequently emcees The Stage Time and Juice show: what could possibly go wrong? Stage jitters, it turns out. Jayde admits that she was “dying” from nervousness when she took the mic, but she discovered something: “It was easier than I expected, because once I got up there I felt that people were not criticizing me and I felt accepted.”
Usually, for a Stage Time and Juice show, apart from the open mic, we also invite a few adult performers to share something with the audience.
Arsene, the Dream Magician, materialized of his own accord with his usual greeting: “Long time no see!” He had just returned from a mysterious assignment in Hong Kong where he had been working as a consultant on a magic show. The Dream Magician delighted the guests with several “classic modern” tricks, one in particular done first in slow motion and then speeding it up, challenging the audience to guess how an egg can be made to present itself out of thin air. Juxtaposed with this was the magic act of Burke Giordano, whom we became acquainted with last year as he coaxed balloons into fanciful shapes. Taking center stage armed with only a pair of oversized spectacles, a briefcase, and a whistle, Burke treated the children to a whimsical performance, referencing his favorite comedians: the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.
Burke’s magical act was followed by the ever-ebullient Sue DeSimone, our Stage Time and Juice rock diva, who led the audience in a sing-along of “This Little Light of Mine” and “Sing,” accompanied by her guitarist friend, Vincenzo Cuccia.
We end our narrative with a description of the opening number of the show, the dramatic reading of Jack and the Beanstalk, accompanied by sound effects. Keeping in mind that this might be the first time that young audience members encountered a radio play, there was first a brief introduction about sound effects, read in English (Ruth) and in Mandarin (Ashish) followed by a training session where the audience was coached to produce sound effects on cue. The story was then read by Carol, Zosia, Julian, and Nicole. The youngest of the crew, Jessie, assisted Ruth with the sound effects table. Here’s the spoiler: at the end of the story, Jack managed to escape from the giant’s castle with the silver and chopped down the beanstalk. The beanstalk fell with a huge crash, and the audience was handsomely rewarded for their participation.
After the show, the Juicers were turned loose to paint the streets with flowery, geometric rangoli forms, which according to Indian tradition can attract good luck. Creating rangoli has now become one of our Stage Time and Juice signature activities. Despite the heat, the artists worked enthusiastically, leaving the Air Force Base covered with an elaborate hand-painted carpet to greet the guests coming for the evening’s entertainment.
See more photos on our flickr album.
By Carol Yao
Stage Time & Juice Coordinator
The idea of a one-day workshop for the purpose of creating a short presentation for the 7th Anniversary celebration came to Juice’s Carol Yao in the course of a discussion about a future and more elaborate R4/Juice collaboration. Jack & the Beanstalk was chosen from a list of familiar (Western) folk tales mainly because of that story’s potential for noise-making (sound effects).
Four teens were recruited: Julian and Nicole Hsu, Jessie Chen and Sosia Chen-Wernik. Carol and Ruth rounded out the cast.
We had less than three hours to learn the show. Radio drama allows for reading the script – no memorization was required. People settled into their assignments easily. Only one person played multiple roles and those characters appeared in separate scenes. The youngest member of the group took responsibility for sound effects and the eldest teen took on most of the narration as well as handling the cue-cards.
A last-minute addition was Ashish Purswaney, who translated the pre-show script, greeted the audience, introduced the craft of Radio Drama and responded to Cue Cards. The show was well received. There was a good turnout and the family audience was receptive to our offering. The sound system was of excellent quality and expertly-managed. All-in-all it was a good experience, if a bit rushed. But sometimes, that’s how we roll.
Earlier in November the ReadAloud met over some poetry by Robert Frost.
Generally, we feel that the monthly ReadAloud could use some more attention. While it was never meant to be a big event, it’s not thriving.
To end on an up-beat: the November calendar also included a visit to the ICRT studios for a recording session of Most Dangerous Game. Pat Woods and Paul Batt met there with Ruth and our favorite recording engineer Liu Ping. Everyone were so familiar with the material that the session went swimmingly and we were satisfied with the work in just a few hours.
Charles Dickens wrote his most famous hit single at a time when Christmas traditions and celebrations had fallen out of style.
The novella appeared in December 1843 as: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. It has not been out of print since.
Dickens was quite fond of the holiday and, with his history as a thespian, he thoroughly enjoyed reading it aloud each yuletide to family, friends and neighbors.
It’s become an R4 tradition here in Taiwan to present this classic in one form or another – always closely adhering to the original language. In 2012, a cast of readers assembled at the ICRT studios to record a scripted version, (penned by our own dramaturg, IgnatzRatskywatsky). This recording has been broadcast yearly at holiday time.
Dickens’ own abridged version was our material for the DecemberReadAloud: Sixteen souls gathered in the Red Room at TAF to take turns reading aloud. Incidental music set the mood and simple sound effects enhanced the listening experience.
The room had been festively decorated by Red Room elVes (that’s V for Volunteers, without whom there would be no Red Room) They even made the room smell Christmas-y with cinnamon and citrus and cider.
That’s the Word, and God bless us, everyone!
Red Room Radio Redux
Check out videos and photos from May 21 on our Facebook page.
The title of our May 21 Stage Time and Juice: Mum’s the Word! is a play on the themes of Mother’s Day and spring. What could be more spring-like than to celebrate life from the perspective of insects? The Juicers were treated to bouncing grasshoppers, whiny bees, supercilious water striders, tragic mayflies, and self-important cicadas, as interpreted through the poems of Paul Fleischman. The poems, read by two readers at once, sometimes in synchrony, sometimes not, demonstrated how poetry can sometimes be performed as a form of music.
Sue DeSimone, on the other hand, seemed to be bugged by something else, leading the Juicers in a plea for ice cream. Her guitar accompanist, Jimmy, seems to have been infected with her melancholy, because he broke into a bit of blues himself after her song was done.
Devry presented a soliloquy from Henry the V while waving around a sword…um…bamboo stick. Two young sisters performed a violin and cello duet from the Japanese animated film “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” One young man sang a song named “Seven”, deploring his lost youth at the ripe old age of nine, and then finished with a keyboard rendition of “Chopsticks” with his mother. His brother did a couple of magic tricks. A pair of siblings read from their favorite story books, one talking about what mommies do and the other describing the sentimental value of a scarf. Finally, two little monkeys demonstrated what it means to be on a roll.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
— Henry David Thoreau
And different drummers we heard indeed. Many different drummers. And people of all shapes and sizes with shakers and tambourines and wooden frogs and other things that I don’t even know the name of, moving to the rhythm of the same beat. Afterward, Sue said, “(It) made me realize that I really miss doing music with kids, since I feel about 5 most of the time!”
There were poets being celebrated as well. Kai introduced us to a melancholy American poet, Robinson Jeffers, who, in 1925, mourned the demise of America. I recited a poem written by Shel Silverstein that complained about being inseparably joined together. Nicole read a poem by Kenn Nesbitt elaborating the shortcomings of her smartphone. Perhaps the Juicers will now have the impression that poetry is only for complaining.
Maggie asked us some riddles, most of which we were able to guess. Later, Michael accompanied her on the conga drums as she sang “Dream Keeper.”
The fiery redheaded 5-year-old puppet, Mimi, told us about her boyfriend who is so overwhelmed with emotion for her that he is unable to actually be with her. She also talked a little with Jennifer Joy about what a bummer it is to be so cute that everyone wants to touch her.
The envoy, Peter, from the British Ministry of Silly Walks, explained that one could have a fine career developing silly walks. The audience was then encouraged to try their best. Five exceptionally silly individuals were awarded presents from the two lollipop girls, Charlotte and Bea, who happen to make all-natural, home made lip balms, surprise soaps, and epsom bath salts. (For those of you who were not silly enough to get some, you can always order your own from Mila Earth Body Care.
A young newcomer sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Charlotte ended the show on a serious note by asking us some tough questions about what we would rather be.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
Stage Time and Juice is not exactly an event you can “plan” in the strict sense of the word. There are too many unknowns. One does not know who the audience will be in terms of age group, nor what sort of performers will show up to perform. To coordinate a show that can hold the attention of children who are quite small as well as teenagers is indeed a challenge.
In many cases, things do not go as planned. In fact, we might even say that in most cases, things do not go as planned.
Nicole and I opened the show by returning to our tradition of performing a comic dialogue. We usually try to play with the theme, which this month was about the leap year, but if we can, we also work in an explanation of why the chicken crossed the road. We never get tired of explaining that one. Julian went up next, making a repeat performance of the parody “Dramatic Song.” Vicky, a Stage Time and Wine favorite, popped in by chance, and was coaxed into singing “Blackbird” while playing her guitar.
Musician Ying-Ho then took the stage with a pile of strange implements: seeds, a tin lid, a plastic bag, a paper tube, a pine cone. With these instruments, he created a sound massage for several volunteers. These sounds induced the volunteers to experience extreme sleepiness in a very short while. One volunteer wondered whether his wallet might perhaps have been missing afterward?
During the break, Karen and Patrick of KP Kitchen presented their delicious muffins, brownies, and frosted cakes. Surprisingly, even though they specialize in preparing muffin mixes, neither of them were familiar with The Muffin Man song.
After the break, Jennifer Joy led the kids in a dancing session on the big red carpet. We then did our First Attempt at Staging a Drama during Juice. In honor of the Year of the Monkey, we chose to interpret Esphyr Slobodkina’s classic story “Caps For Sale.” We were lucky to have a surplus of talent this time around: Whitney narrated while Sue played the peddler. The most difficult job of Sue’s was to walk around with 10 caps placed on her head. Monkeys were solicited from the audience. As you can guess, we had no shortage of those!
Whitney then taught the kids some light saber fighting techniques. As often happens, the protegee will end up destroying the master. Her final impalement on the terrazzo floor of the Red Room was regrettable, but inevitable.
And that’s what you missed at Stage Time and Juice!
by Carol Yao
2016 is a leap year! What will you do with that extra day?
Spend it with us at the RED ROOM and discover the magic of being part of a fun, creative, enthusiastic community based upon the concept of LISTENING.
Let’s reach for the sky together! Kindly LEAP to the occasion by preparing
1) A song, a skit, a joke, a poem.
2) Some additional juice or a snack to share
3) Your best clapping hands and listening ears!
The Red Room is a green environment. Bring your own drinking vessel! If not, you may borrow or purchase one of our awesome, groovy bamboo mugs.
Stage Time and Juice 是一個新的紅房(Red room)社群與 Taipei City Playgroup 所舉辦的活動，活動主要用意為鼓勵孩子們步入創意探索的道路。 活動主要以英文進行，受邀參加的孩子們，可以有機會聆聽許多故事，分享彼此天賦才能及創意想法。倒點果汁，隨意找個座位坐下，和我們果汁家庭成員們一同學 習，一同分享這個多元化的平台。 在櫃台會有報名表，讓勇敢的小朋友們可以登記上台朗讀、分享藝術、玩音樂或者講故事。
2) 紅房(Red room)社群關心綠色環保議題，所以來時候可以考慮在現場購買一個我們引以為傲的竹杯子，又或者您也可以攜帶自己的環保杯。
Entrance fee: NT100 for adults, NT 50 per child (ages 5-16)
活動時間 Date and Time ：2月 27 日星期六 2:30 pm – 4:30pm
入場費用 Fee：大人NT100 小孩 (5-16歲 ) NT50
Recommended Age: 5 and Above
活動地點：國防部空軍司令部舊址 圖書館 2 樓
台北市大安區建國南路一段177號 （濟南路與建國南路交叉口）No. 177, Sec. 1, Jianguo S. Rd (Intersection of Jianguo S. Rd. and Jinan Rd.
Hosts: RED ROOM www.redroomtaipei.com and The Taipei City Playgroup
肯夢 AVEDA I Ripplemaker Foundation
Dear Stage Time and Juicers,
Due to the winter vacation and local school examinations falling around our regularly scheduled January Stage Time and Juice event, we have decided that we will move it toFebruary 20, 2016. (Third Saturday of the month, as always, held in the afternoon before Stage Time and Wine.)
In 2016 we are hoping to have an even more enthusiastic participation. We at the Red Room believe in supporting the informal arts community: by providing those who create with a means to share in a “culture of listening”, the Red Room strives to attain a richer, warmer, more compassionate society.
Stage Time and Juice is an effort to instill the same values in the future generation. Although it might just seem like a chance to get some kids behind a microphone, there is indeed, method to our madness!
Have we not been getting this message across? If we aren’t doing it right, come out and show us how to do it better!
And if you haven’t been to Juice yet…what are you waiting for?
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!
View slide show
In the early hours of the twenty-first, we stood across the street mumbling drowsy greetings and admiring the banner adorning the entrance of the TAF compound. Even from a distance its vibrant colors and characters captured our attention. Ten minutes later we gathered under the festival tents, decidedly more lively after consuming coffee and dan bing, and watched the sky drop its first tentative drops of the day. “Oh dear,” one dismayed volunteer murmured. Another volunteer quickly replied that “[it’d] be good luck.”. “Don’t you know rain on a festival day is good luck?” she asked us with a grin.Rain has become something of a traditional part of Red Room’s anniversaries; in fact, not a single Red Room anniversary has been without it. Though rain can be a nuisance, it is perhaps a fitting symbol of Red Room’s rebirth.
In a traditional sense, rain has always symbolized revival; rain transforms the land through nourishing the soil. Similarly, Red Room has transformed through finding new soil. Since moving to the TAF, Red Room has introduced a myriad of events and activities for the community. In short, Red Room’s rebirth has ushered a new era, enabling Red Roomers to attain new heights in expressing creativity. This idea of rebirth was well captured during Red Room’s anniversary, which proudly presented some of the community’s new initiatives including a first glimpse at plays written and performed by members of the Red Room community. When Red Roomers weren’t enjoying performances, they were able to peruse the walls which were adorned with featured art by J.J. Chen and Ted Pigott from Red Room’s second Visual Dialogues.
Yet, Red Room’s expansion and rebirth has not drastically eroded the traditions Red Roomers value most. The return of rain on November 21st also reminded many Red Roomers of the aspects they love most about the community. For as the sky drizzled, community members gathered, laughed and shared. During Stage Time & Juice, the rain did not hinder the imaginations of Juicers as they fought agents of destruction, or dazzled audiences with magic. Indeed, it did not prevent them from embarking on great adventures on the grounds, imaginary sword and cape in hand. As the day cooled, Red Roomers could again gather inside to listen to rich stories by performers from Red Room Radio Redux’s Read Aloud.
Outside, Red Roomers were treated to a mix of sounds from musicians whose sound ranged from classic rock, to blues, to traditional aboriginal. Crowds gathered in front of the colorful stage, hands cupping a warm cup of 臺Walla, Red Room Chai from R & D Lab, or a beer from Bloch Brewing Company. They browsed artisan booths holding a sandwich from Sprout or Belgian fries from Belga, and watched new and old Red Room musicians perform.
To memorialize the day, artists sketched Red Roomers, photographers snapped candids and, for the braver Red Roomers, artists offered free slow poke tattoos. Red Roomers could also transform themselves with anything from haircuts and metallic body art to the opportunity to learn about and dedicate themselves to important social issues. Of course there were plenty of opportunities to make less tangible memories. Red Room offered countless opportunities to get involved. Upstairs and downstairs, Red Roomers could participate in art whether through painting on a scroll, leaving their handprint on a canvas or speaking on community and compassion.
As the day drew to an end, and the sky exchanged the sun for the stars, performers exchanged the stage for the Red Roomfloor. The members of Mafana and Faloco gathered beneath the stairs to continue celebrating. Sitting in a circle, they sang with ebullient enthusiasm, swaying and grinning; strumming and beating. Their joy was so irresistible that other Red Roomers soon joined in. Meanwhile, other performers moved inside to avoid the rain, exchanging a public performance for a more intimate one. Lights reflected warmly off the gathered crowd who watched transfixed as Valentin Le Chat and La Gitanita seamlessly merged different styles of physical art.
The crowds did not dissipate, even as the night cooled. Instead, Red Roomers did what they do best. They provided a platform for artists and community members to express themselves creatively. They reveled in each other’s triumphs and talents and embraced each other’s goals and initiatives. The Renaissance Festival offered Red Roomers the opportunity to connect with six years of memories and renew their keenness to contribute to communities through art and volunteerism. Red Room is sustained by its community members’ passion and compassion and the anniversary was a wonderful continuation and expansion of those virtues.
Editor, Red Room News