Being a fan of Esplanade PLAYtime! performances, I was really happy when I found out that they will have a Chinese performance in conjunction with Huayi Festival. So we went for the Chinese version of “The Magic Treetop” instead of the English version.
To be honest, I was a little scared that the boy would not enjoy himself as much due to the language difference. So to prep him, I told him that we are going to watch a performance like what he had watch previously. He was excited when he heard that we are watching something similar. And started regurgitating all the animals he saw previously and what happened in the play. But I warned him this time round its going to be Chinese and told him I’m sure he will enjoy it nonetheless.
We bought a package for 4 tickets, as I wish to bring Loi along. I think she should be able to understand most of the things by now. Unfortunately, she fell sick 2 days before the play and didn’t get well until that night of the play. Not wanting to waste the tickets, we brought along our niece V.
I notice that “The Magic Treetop” came from the same director and creator, Ian Loy, as “The Magic Ocean”. I must say his work were better as compare to “The Magic Jungle”. The story is more cohesive and “teaching” were not so “in the face”.
As a summary, these are the creatures that we see in the Magic Treetop. The firefly, a Magpie, horned beetle, bees and not shown in the photo are squirrels. I like how they try to teach the correct pronunciation of words in Chinese through a bee that couldn’t speak Chinese properly. It shows that by mis-pronouncing a word, it can give a totally different meaning. It also tries to teach the 4 intonation by having the bee repeat the same word in the 4 different intonation. This may be a little difficult for the boy to understand now, but I certainly hope that this is the 1st step of exposure.
We also enjoy learning certain terms in Chinese. The boy can name all the creatures that we see in the Magic Treetop in English. However, we make sure we tell him that correct term in Chinese too. The boy could also name “acorn” but we never knew what it is called in Chinese until that day.
Interaction is also a must in PLAYTime. This time round, they were asked to flap their hands as if it is a wing and “fly” together with the Magpie. At the same time, they had acorns put around the area for them to bring to the squirrels. There were also color discs on the floor which the kids are asked to put onto the Chameleon when the stated color is mention. Fortunately, V got a pink disc and manage to put it on for the Chameleon and the boy got a yellow disc. So he went to put on for the Chameleon and took off the pink disc.
This little activity teaches them both colors and the characteristics of a Chameleon. Apart from the Chameleon, the characteristics of the horned beetle as well as the firefly was also mention.
They also attempt to teach the different opposites. Like rough and smooth, heavy and light, big and small. I think the boy would know all these in English but might be the first time he hears them in Chinese. I hope this is a good exposure.
In the short 45 minutes, I’m sure the kids (and even the parents) have fun and went home with lots of knowledge. I find this production really good that I’m tempted to go for their English version. However, we have a series of performances that we are intending to bring the boy to in the month of March already. As such, we probably have to give it a miss.
If you have miss the Chinese version of “The Magic Treetop”, you still have a chance to catch the English version in March. I highly recommend it as a first step in exposing the kids to performances.