Mala Scena is the only theatre in Croatia which has been producing Early Years shows on a regular basis. For over a decade they have been creating theatrical experiences aimed at children from 18 months to 5 years of age, including: The Story About Cloud, The Story About Wheel, The Story About Light and The Story About Water.
For the latest addition to the The Story About… series, The Story About Sound, Mala Scena partnered up with the creative collective SKROZ, consisiting of French-Croatian audio artist Vedran Peternel and Croatian director Nora Krstulovic. They are well known for the use of sound as an autonomous expressive device, both in their high-tech projects such as @BetaSkroz as well as in children’s theatre shows such as Golden Hen or Weasel In The Attic.
The preparations for The Story About Sound included several months of research with the team of international multidisciplinary professionals observing, as well as challenging the levels of sound perception: their connection with other senses as well as with cognitive and emotional development of the youngest audiences.
As a result, The Story About Sound is the first performing arts project ever using revolutionary Modular Musical Objects technology developed by famous French research institute IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) as well as the Verbotonal method theory by Croatian scientist and founder of SUVAG, Petar Guberina.
For an unborn baby sound is the first perception of the outer world through its mother’s womb. A baby’s cry is the sound of its first arrival into this world. Newborns recognise their mother’s voice, which soothes them. At the age of three months they start getting excited by the familiar sounds such as bathwater running, footsteps, etc. At the same time, babies start to recognise and locate from where the sounds are coming and their spatiality, whilst the visual perception of space develops at a later stage.
Despite all this, current developmental and educational trends give little space to nurturing and developing our perception of sound, barring listening to music and stories.
Sound however, is far more complex than that.
It transcends geographical area and language, and paints pictures far richer and more memorable than words, images or television screen.
The association that the sounds (including the harmonious and organised sequence better known as music) produce with the listener are far more diverse than any image, word or movement. This is exactly what The Story About Sound explores by using a plethora of sounds: those familiar to children, such as nature sounds, melodies and rhythms, as well as abstract and synthetic sounds.
The Story About Sound aims to be one of the first lessons in the skill of listening: to our immediate surroundings, the ones we recognise and the ones that are new, as well as to our own selves.