So the world appears to have gone to shit since last I posted. Donald Trump has been sworn in as President of the United States. The Tories are still in power with the help of the DUP. Manchester has become one of the cities to experience a crazy person's home made deadly bomb. The news is full of terrorists and refugees and war.
How do I raise a child in all of this? How do I respond when she asks, "Is there going to be a bomb at our house?" Or when she keeps asking me why the train and tram stations keep making announcements about being alert for suspicious behaviour or packages?
I don't have the answers to these questions. But I think we just have to keep talking.
Yesterday on the tram we heard the announcements about reporting suspicious packages about 15 times. She kept saying, "Not again. Why do they keep saying the same thing?" And what I want to do is reassure her. Not by saying that everything will be ok, because I cannot promise that, and things are not ok for a lot of people, but by pointing out all the good in the world in which we live. The good far outweighs the scary for a lot of us lucky people and we should try to hold on to that.
Yesterday we did that by talking about all the things we usually see at the tram station. Busy people, kids, people with pull along cases, kids trying to get on without tickets, but not people acting suspiciously. :)
Another thing that I haven't been talking about with her, is the refugee crisis. It isn't in the news as much but it is still a crisis. And we had a chance to exlpore a lot of the issues about it when we went to see The Welcoming Party last night.
The Welcoming Party is part of the Manchester International Festival and Z arts (where I work) is one of the producers. I am part of the Front of House team and not part of the creative team so I really had no idea what to expect when we went to see it last night.
Oh. My. God.
It is such a good production. It is beautiful and powerful. I held back tears a couple of times. And there was one point where the little one was upset and needed to be carried for a bit. It is recommended for ages 8 + and she is just shy of being 8. But that is the point. It is upsetting because the audience is experiencing a little bit of what asylum seekers experience. It is not 'entertaining' but it is fantastic and well worth seeing. I wish everybody could see it!
It has opened up a lot of discussion with the little one about what people go through. A discussion I have been struggling with as a parent. How do I talk about this while protecting my own mental health and helping her empathise and not make her feel like the world is ending?! I see us going back to it again and again over the next few weeks as we talk about current issues.
It is promenade theatre. Up stairs and down stairs.(There are lifts.) Around different parts of different rooms. The story telling is fantastic if sad. There are puppets that bring memories to life and are just wonderful. There is beauty in the dancing and the music and the singing. And parts of it are with me today as I write this.
I don't really do reviews. I am too afraid of spoilers. But this. Just go experience it. But go prepared. It isn't easy. Just worth it.