Ninjas are sneaking into The Court Theatre in Christchurch these school holidays to entertain the kids of Canterbury in The Littlest Ninja.
Written by former Court Jester and current ‘card ninja’ comedian Javier Jarquin and directed by current Court Jester, actor and writer Kathleen Burns, The Littlest Ninja is guaranteed to make your little ones giggle.
The play follows Miki, a small aspiring ninja, who learns that being true to yourself and standing out (or in this case, being too small to stand-out) is better than pretending to be someone that you’re not.
As Burns describes it, “The Littlest Ninja is about the plight of one plucky little girl who wants to be the best ninja that she can be – but thinks she’s not strong enough. When your strengths are different to everyone else, it’s easy to think you’re weak. Or not good enough. Miki has to learn to use her unique talents so she can become the best ninja she can be!”
Miki lives in a temple with fellow ninja Genki. The pair are charged with protecting an ancient scroll that contains precious ninja secrets after their master leaves the temple to enter a deep meditative sleep.
Genki, a stereotypically tall and strong ninja who doubts Miki’s ability to be a ninja, will be played by Cameron Douglas (most recently seen as Saturninus in Titus Andronicus), while little Miki will be played by third year NASDA student Reylene Hilaga making her professional theatre debut. Bianca Seinafo (most recently seen as Elizabeth in In the Next Room, or the vibrator play) will be playing both the master of the temple and the evil Hanzo, Lord of Trickery, who is on the hunt to steal the ancient scroll.
Burns is excited to start work with her cast, saying, “It’s going to be great having Cameron and Bianca’s experience on stage working with Reylene as she takes this wonderful stepping stone, embarking on the beginning of her career.”
Burns, who has been involved with kids shows at The Court Theatre since her 2010 performance in Jack and the Beanstalk alongside writer Javier Jarquin and current Court Theatre Associate Director Dan Bain, has had a love of theatre since a young age.
“My grandad took me to the theatre and it was so special – it was the thing that grandad and I did together. I can remember him taking me to see The Sound of Music and being so absorbed in what was going on and so lost in the reality that, at the end when all the von Trapp kids go ‘goodnight’ and run up the stairs, I stood up in my seat and started waving goodbye to them, because there was no fourth wall for me. I felt like I was in their living room with them, having this magical experience, and I hope I can give that to kids in The Littlest Ninja.”
She’s also hoping that kids leave with a few ninja skills of their own.
“My hope with this show is that parents all over Christchurch are sick to death of ninjas within two weeks because the children will not stop playing ninja animal styles. You know it’s been a good kids show when you hear from the parents that, two weeks afterwards, they’re still playing the game of the show.”
Children who love the big characters and physical jokes that are characteristic of The Court Theatre’s kids shows don’t need to worry about not knowing much about ninjas, with Burns saying, “audiences don’t have to already love ninjas… but by the end they will.”
The Littlest Ninja runs at The Court Theatre as part of KidsFest from 7 – 21 July 2018 with a relaxed performance of the show being hosted on 21st July at 11am. Recommended ages are 3 – 7 with all tickets $10.
Miki Reylene Hilaga
Genki Cameron Douglas
Master / Hanzo Bianca Seinafo
Writer Javier Jarquin
Director Kathleen Burns
Set Advisor Richard Van Den Berg
Costume Designer Deborah Moor
Lighting Designer Geoff Nunn
Sound Designer/Operator Matt Short
Stage Manager Brylee Lockhart
Assistant Stage Manager Jess Barnett
Properties Manager Christy Lassen
Construction Manager Bryce Goddard
Head Technician Giles Tanner
Production Manager Flore Charbonnier
All tickets $10
7 –21 July 2018:
Monday –Friday 11am and 1pm
Saturday 7th and 14th July 11am
Saturday 21st July 1pm
Relaxed Performance Saturday 21st July, 11am
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz