Moose Caller Extraordinaire

Last Saturday we welcomed Matt Tinker, Registered Maine Guide and moose caller extraordinaire, who did an amazing presentation for an excited audience in the Ranger Station. Matt has his own guide service taking wildlife photographers, hunters and animal fanciers into the forests of Maine where he helps them find animals like moose. On Saturday, he showed us moose and deer antlers and pelts so we could compare their sizes. He also demonstrated a baby moose’s call to its mother and some of the sounds an adult moose can make. Using homemade recycled tools, he also replicated many of the sounds a moose can make without using his voice! He even used a puddle of water to show the sound a moose makes when it walks through water and eats lily pads. Everyone learned how to make at least one sound like a moose.

Here are just a few of the other things we learned from Matt during his visit:

• A baby moose can weigh 35 pounds when it is born.

• A moose can live up to 25 years.

• A male moose loses his antlers every year, then squirrels, mice, and other small mammals chew on them to get minerals.

Thank you, Matt, for sharing your skills and knowledge!

SANTA’S REINDEER REVUE IS UNDERWAY!

The trees may be hanging on to the last of their fall leaves but over at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Santa’s reindeer are gearing up for the holidays.. the holiday production of Santa’s Reindeer Revue, that is!

I sat in on a rehearsal for the production last week and was greeted by an exuberant group of reindeer-in-training.  Before rehearsal officially began there was loads of energy bouncing around the stage and I knew immediately that I was in for a treat!

The afternoon started off with a circle of yoga stretches followed by vocal exercises.  When everyone seemed thoroughly warmed-up, actors took their places on stage to act out a scene in which Santa’s reindeer are showing off their various talents.  As I watched, I knew right away that the reindeer in the show weren’t the only talented ones – these actors knew their stuff!

Many of the actors in Santa’s Reindeer Revue have been in previous productions put on by the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine and their experience – and passion for theatre – blew me away!  I can’t wait to see what else they have in store.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be dropping by rehearsals, chatting with cast members, and snapping some behind the scenes photos so be sure to stay tuned for more sneak peaks of Santa’s Reindeer Revue!


Sneak Peek: The Set of Santa’s Reindeer Revue!

Have you ever wondered how the set for a play is created? Who comes up with the ideas? How do they decide on the colors, and which props to use? Who puts it all together? Chris Fitze, our Exhibits and Operations Associate, has worked behind the scenes in theatre for many years and takes a leading role in set design here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. Here, he shares an inside look at the process of creating a set for our next show, Santa’s Reindeer Revue.  (You can click here for show tickets and info.)

Chris says:

“Even though we are still a few weeks away from opening night (Dec 3rd), design and construction of the set for Santa’s Reindeer Revue is well under way! Reba Short, our Theatre Artistic Director, asked us to design a set that would be simple and allow a lot of room to play. After reading the script, we developed a concept that would allow us to travel to two different locations, while sticking to the same central theme.

 

Santa’s Reindeer Revue takes place in two very different places. The show begins at the North Pole, where Santa’s Reindeer are (what else?) playing games, and getting ready for their big night! The show then travels to the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, where the cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are well into rehearsals at our very own Dress-Up Theatre. At the climax of the play, we come to opening night. And, although this is still in the Dress-Up Theatre, the look has to be one of Opening Night – not of rehearsal.

For the North Pole, we decided to keep a very open stage with a few hints of the great outdoors. “Real” trees, snowdrifts, and a North Pole sign all indicate the location without bulking up the stage. This allows plenty of room for the reindeer to play their games without being hindered by an overcrowded stage. When the play moves to the Dress-Up Theatre, we came to the conclusion that because the actors are rehearsing a play about the North Pole, the stage could still resemble the North Pole, but with more obvious stage pieces. Tree cutouts, ladders, and Christmas lights half-strung let us know this is a production in progress. By moving the ladders, adding some curtains, and stringing the lights properly, the stage will “magically” transform from rehearsal to opening night (although a little quicker than in real life!)!

Sometimes bigger is not always better. A simple set allows the actors and director to explore the full area more completely, and relies on the audience’s imagination to create their own magic. Isn’t that what this holiday season is all about?

Enjoy the show!”