directed by Michael and Marjorie Fordea solo show performed 1998 – 1999

Playpen was commissioned by The Out of The Box Festival,
directed by Michael and Marjorie Forde and produced by Performing
Lines. It toured to Sydney, Adelaide and Toronto.


“Playpen” is a performance for 3 – 8 year
olds and families. In this show Linsey is an 18 month old baby in a
giant Playpen. During the show we enter the imaginary and magical
musical world of “The Baby”. This musical world exists entirely
within the confines of the Playpen. It is a
world where everything has a musical possibility.
Inflatable toys become bagpipes, dummies become reed instruments,
baby bottles become panpipes, rattles become maracas and even the
bars of the playpen are triggered to create digital sounds.

The show is a mix of music from found objects and high-tech
digital technology. Using digital sampling technology the audience
is able to see and hear the music being constructed layer by layer.
In this way the process of making music is demystified (the
composition of the music is experienced as well as the performance).
The use of digital technology acknowledges that this is now a part
and parcel of our lives, but this is balanced by the creative use of
found objects as well as using the technology to de-construct the
music making process.

“Playpen” looks into the imagination and
creative mind of an 18 month old baby. We are not trying to
re-construct the mind of an 18 month old, but taking the essence –
the, as yet untamed, wild curiosity and experimentalism that a baby
has. It is experimentation without limits, as the creativity has not
yet been confined by adult conceptions and expectations of what is
possible (the “Let’s try anything approach”). What is interesting is
that this unlimited experimentalism will occur in the very severely
defined physical limits of “The Playpen”. In fact the Playpen has of
course been placed there by the adult world to limit this “unlimited

In “Playpen” the audience is being shown the
inner world of the baby – What the baby imagines or believes is
possible, rather than the reality of what is possible. The audience
is helped into the baby’s mind by “Teddy” who translates what the
baby imagines into real sounds. Teddy is a sort of interpreter and
is central to this piece. The “Imagination” in this piece is placed
firmly in the world of song and sound.

“Playpen” is also about creativity within
imposed limits (the playpen). You can often use limits to provide a
lateral diving platform for ideas, and so use those limits to spark
new ways of doing things. But limits can also often be self-imposed
and stifle creativity. This show is very much about the first of
these possibilities “creativity within limits”.

So “Playpen” is about: Music, Imagination and
magic, Creativity and limits.

Primarily the show is ultimately a musical work. It is about the
Joy and Wonder of making music. It is designed to inspire and
encourage children’s innate musical curiosity and experimentation
and most of all to be FUN!!