Tom’s Shadow

Programming / Young audience

L’ombre de Tom / Tom’s Shadow is a play written for children from 3 to 6 years old maximum – it is short: it lasts 35 minutes – it has no words and it is based on a very simple story told with pure gems of scenic means.

I loved it, it’s simple. No comments about my mental age –

Don’t ask me why this is the show I had in mind today. I have no idea.
But I do know that it’s a very, very great show, one that gives children a taste for storytelling, for the wonderful, for music – and above all, a taste for the stage.

The subject is universal, and we’ve all known the questions that Tom, the very young main character, asks himself.

It’s about what is our relationship with our shadow.

When we were children, which one of us was not delighted to have a huge shadow that made us believe that we had – by some miracle – become “old”?
When we find ourselves too fat, it is there all thin and slender.
But when we want to hide, it remains lying on the ground, unmasking us.
When we want to take it off, it stays there.
When we think we’ve finally lost it, it comes back, all it takes is a ray of sunshine.

There are an infinite number of legends around the shadow: that of Peter Pan, I don’t need to tell you about it.
There is the one from Spain, where the shadow is given to the devil instead of the real character – obviously, the devil understands the swindle quickly – but he doesn’t care: what do you think a man who has lost his shadow lives in Spain?

Tom has the same worries – and he, too, is so “afraid of his shadow” (it’s a French expression that I hope to be universal) that he decides to sow it.
And he succeeds.

And this is where the story becomes truly original and exciting: we are no longer with the child, but with his shadow, who despairs of finding her companion.
She looks for him everywhere, she calls him, she explores all the worlds, even the underwater abysses… – so for the moment – I’m totally French: in French the word “ombre”/shadow is a feminine word, we use the pronoun “elle”/she – and this obviously influenced the show, since the shadow becomes feminine too.

The children and us, we find ourselves immersed in a world full of colours, strange drawings, with manipulations of puppets: either in shadow theatre (necessarily) or pure puppets.

We see Tom begin to regret his shadow and to feel lonely. The whole room is so sad for him. He will then grow bigger, and will overcome all his fears. He will become stronger, more joyful, and so much happier, accepting himself and his shadow, him and his funny double who almost looks like him and who was only bothering him.

As for the shadow, she will do anything and everything, she will have the wildest, most extravagant, funniest, most unbelievably dangerous ideas, all this to finally find her beloved – the part of her that was missing. As it is a story to enchant the children, obviously, it has a happy ending.

Really, it’s a very, very beautiful show, realized with rather few resources – I’ve already said it, no, that for my part I come from that part of the entertainment world that tinkers with 3 pennies?

Their teaser is interesting because they thought of showing what the viewer never sees: what’s behind the curtain.

So I still don’t know why I thought of this show – but what I’m sure of is that this company will continue to produce shows of very high quality.
I’m not going to lie to you: there are companies that do very high quality shows, there are – but not that many. Not to the point of forgetting those that are excellent and thinking that we’ll find others.

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Featured Image & all images : L’ombre de Tom /Tom’s Shadow – by Cie Le Bel Après Minuit.

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