Wild children. So, you have been booked for a 6 year olds’ birthday party. You are bringing out your ‘age specific’ tried and tested 2 hour party package. There are none of the issues listed in my earlier post. But wait. There is one 2 year old. He doesn’t want to see magic. He doesn’t want to play ‘your’ games. He wants to play his own games, he wants to run wild, across your performing zone, squeal, shout, play with your props and more.
How then do you deal with this?
Sometimes, you are left with little choice but to stop the party and have a word with the child or the mum. It shouldn’t be your job, but, you are booked to deliver an excellent party and if this is preventing you from doing so, then I believe, stopping the party and speaking to the child or mum, who may get 10 seconds of uncomfortability for the sake of ensuring 29 other happy children and 29 happy parents, then I believe this is a risk I’m happy to take.
Chattering parents. Chattering parents. Chattering parents. No that’s not a typo. It needed saying 3 times, as it sometimes take’s 3 asks to ask parent’s to keep the noise down so the other parents and children can hear the show. The sad thing is, my show, is genuinely a really family friendly show – great for kids’ and their parents alike, but unfortunately some parent’s may already have pre-conceptions of of a kids’ magic show is about. I can’t blame them. before I started out in the world of children’s entertainment, I had limited exposure to the art, and the exposure I had was not great! There are other factors as to why some parent’s don’t want to watch the show and David Kaye has a fantastic book, which he looks into why parent’s come to a performance like ours and chat at the back of the room as though it were a social event.
He rightly identifies that there is not the same respect offered to a children’s entertainer as let’s say, a West End performer. But why?
David suggests that when people attend the theatre or cinema, they are treated to a darkened room (often associated with silence anyway), plump soft chairs and a general whisper from other guests / customers. Thus, they are conditioned to respecting the performer because of the atmosphere that has been created. Unfortunately a kids’ show performer is to treated to these same luxuries and our shows are often performed in village or church halls, gyms, outside, in people’s houses, or in pubs or restaurants. These are places where talking, laughing and sometimes shouting are the norm and are occasionally accompanied by a cheeky beverage or two. Without the advantages of curtains, lighting, comfortable chairs, ticket sales, comperes etc, we are left to fulfil our promise of being ‘self-contained’ and control all aspects of the mood and environment ourselves.
So why is it so important to eliminate distractions?
Well, if a child becomes distracted, they won’t want to focus or concentrate on the show. Us, as entertainer’s will not be able to deliver the best show ever as we too may be distracted and can’t focus of delivering a perfect presentation. That said, the more experienced an entertainer you are, the more easy it is to eliminate these distractions. The closer you will come to delivering a ‘perfect show’.
If I try and eliminate these distractions in my shows, it is not too be awkward, it is to ensure, mums, dad’s and kids have a fantastic 2 hours of entertainment that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. My testimonials are testament to that and can be found here: http://www.williamthewizard.co.uk/comments.html