Thomas LaHood is one of the writers of our upcoming junior theatre show, Odd One Out and is the Marketing Manager of Barbarian Productions. We asked Thomas to tell us more about Odd One Out and making theatre for children.
When did you first become interested in theatre?
I first became interested in theatre early in life – doing skits at school concerts and drama classes from about age 5. I had my first professional theatre role at age 11 in Macbeth at Downstage Theatre.
What’s the difference between making a show for children vs adults?
Making theatre for children is very exciting. It encourages us to think with real focus and clarity. I think for us the intention behind pitching a children’s work was to create something that would be funny and exciting for children, so we have to be very rigorous with the structure, the timing, the pacing and the visual impact to make sure they will be along for the whole ride. Our adult work tends to be more ambiguous and complex, mixing comedy with darker emotional content, but with this work the comedy is to the fore. And making things funny takes more work than you’d think!
What do you hope kids will get from watching Odd One Out?
Children are all different and we hope that all of them will be able to get something from this work. We’re working with themes of order and disorder and we hope that children will feel a connection to both sides of the story – to the characters who love things to be a certain way and get worried when things change, and to the character who doesn’t know how to fit in and seems to make a mess of everything. We’re hoping that the show will deliver a clear message about inclusivity and coping with difference, but we also want children to laugh out loud.
Where did the inspiration for Odd One Out come from?
Odd One Out was an idea that came from our background in clown work. We wanted to create a show that was built on a lot of clown comedy – entrances and exits, comic timing, characters being really naughty. We imagined a world where there were three clowns who were quite funny to watch, who were busy with some kind of work they liked to do together, but then they were terribly disrupted by a fourth character showing up who just seemed to ruin everything for them.
Why is theatre important for children and young people?
Theatre is important for everyone! For children and young people, it’s important to connect stories, metaphors and ideas with a sense of community. Theatre is our favourite form because it brings people together in a physical place to experience something that can’t happen anywhere else – you can’t download it or read it in your bedroom. It has to be a shared experience. Experiences of theatre for children often remain powerful for a long time – and they are unique memories, attached to a place, a time, perhaps a person or a teacher who brought you along.
Theatre is our favourite form because it brings people together in a physical place to experience something that can’t happen anywhere else – you can’t download it or read it in your bedroom.