Day 6: Audience participation (as superhero)

So, we hit the festival again after yesterday's hiatus in good spirits.

'What do you think has been the best show you've seen so far?' I asked Arlo en route to our venue.

'The one we see today will be' his encouragingly enthusiastic reply. 'What is it about?'

I had to answer that I didn't really know but it was called 'Zooom!' and I thought it might be about super heroes.

'Will there be dragons? I think there might be dragons. Because super heroes can rescue people from dragons can't they?'

I was fairly non-committal about the dragons but from the two-sentence blurb in the programme I thought it unlikely. This was a show about everyday 'heroes in waiting' and heroic acts of childhood kindness (like being friendly to the left out kid in the playground or not thumping your little sister even if she just destroyed your train track for the third time today). But the dragon idea had sounded cool.

'Tell me, have you ever done something really kind for someone else?' one of the fantastically energetic and enthusiastic young performers asked Arlo before we took our seats. Arlo looked initially a little confused by the question but then whispered to me, 'I cuddled someone' and so I volunteered that answer on his behalf.

I think the show - a wonderful series of big-hearted and inventive ways of encouraging kids to act positively in the world - deserved a much, much bigger audience but the relatively small crowd that we were part of turned out to be a bit of a blessing, for Arlo at least. During the show's climax, he was invited up on stage to see his own act of kindness - the cuddle - dramatized. I could feel him wavering next to me, but ultimately the adventurous and slightly precocious side of Arlo (and not the bashful, hesitant one) was able to take charge.

'So what did you think of that?' I asked after he and the performers had all taken their well deserved bows and we were back outside.

'Good. Good. But it wasn't a REAL super hero show. It wasn't scary. And there weren't any dragons'.