Barking Gecko Theatre to bring Shaun Tan’s Cicada to life with puppetry in Narrogin

Daniel RooneyNarrogin Observer
Cicada will be performed at the Narrogin Town Hall on May 30-31.
Camera IconCicada will be performed at the Narrogin Town Hall on May 30-31. Credit: Barking Gecko Theatre

Barking Gecko Theatre will bring three performances of their adaptation of Shaun Tan’s Cicada to Narrogin on May 30-31.

One of Tan’s shortest works, the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year tells the tale of an office working insect who is not appreciated at his job.

Like the song of the cicada, the story to be told by a cast of two puppeteers is larger than itself.

“It’s incredible that a book like Cicada can win children’s book of the year and also reduce adults to tears,” Barking Gecko’s artistic director Luke Kerridge said.

“Shaun Tan has this ability to cut across all age groups because he thinks really highly of children and the stories that they should be told.

“We’ve had thousands of school children through and they respond so viscerally in their own way but we’ve also had a lot of adults view the work and feel really connected as well.”

The production went into development after Kerridge was inspired by an exhibition at the Library of WA on the making of the book.

“The process that Shaun followed when he made it was to make little models, a little statue of the cicada and little models of office cubicles, and he lit them almost like a theatre production and shot photos that he used as the basis for his painting,” Kerridge said.

“A school group were visiting the exhibition at the same time I was and their enthusiasm for the story was incredible.”

Two shows will take place at the Narrogin Town Hall on Tuesday May 30 at 10am and 1pm followed by a single 10am performance on Wednesday May 31.

Tickets for Cicada can be purchased from the Arts Narrogin website.

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