Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Toy Theatre is Born: HAMILTON

The toy theatre includes a great example of pre-restoration (2013) interior architectural accuracy...
[Photo Credit:  Kelli Kirk]

Last week, one very lucky little boy received a rare Christmas gift nowadays:  A toy theatre. Not only was it a toy theatre, but it was an original, newly-conceived theatre based on the Richard Rodgers theatre in New York City.  On top of that, it was based on that theatre's current production - HAMILTON.

Milo's mother, Kelli shares a bit more:
For the past month, Mark and I have worked late at night after bedtime to build Milo a Victorian style "Toy Theater" of the play Hamilton: An American Musical - it includes a wooden stage, and all the players on tiny marionette wires. It was a
Actual side marque that Milo's toy
theatre was faithfully based upon...
painstaking project with tremendous scope creep but it is faithful to the original Victorian style toy theater as we could muster, except in the LED lighting - executive prerogative.
Toy Theater was a cultural phenomenon in the 19th century, a style of puppeteering that included a small stage and tiny 'marionette' style characters. Parents would go to the theater and bring home a toy version of the theater so the child could act out a play. When we visited London, puppeteers recommended we visit Pollock's Toy Museum which has a large collection. Pollock's was one of those quintessentially London places - tiny, many floors tall, higgledy-piggledy collections of amazing old toy theaters and childhood ephemera. Milo was completely captivated by them -- but they aren't really made today [at least not in the same way they once were - Note from Trish.]
Milo has had a passion for puppetry ever since he can
remember.  His Christmas gift of a toy theatre version
of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, featuring a production
of "Hamilton", made at night in secret by his parents!

[Photo Credit:  Kelli Kirk]

Our gift was a success and Milo declared, "Mom, this is the best present I ever got!" and quickly set about to acting out the Cabinet Battle.

From an article called The Rise and Fall of Toy Theatre (in recent years, it is rising again):

...A toy theatre was, as we will see, a tiny but complex structure—as intricate and lovingly assembled, in its way, as model railroads can be for today’s hobbyists. In its prime, it was not a nostalgic hobby but a breathless bulletin from the newly emerging world of mass communications and global celebrities—a chance for ordinary people to touch their heroes in person...

I have it on good authority that Milo and his Mom are two of the very lucky people who have secured tickets to HAMILTON, and will be attending a performance in the new year, in the new future. When Milo comes back home, I have a feeling he will be even more excited about not only the theatre but putting on a performance.


Welcome to the toy theatre family, Milo!

Comparing the theatre's exterior front to the toy theatre's, you can see the amount of detail that Milo's parents,
Kelli & Mark, put into recreating the Rodger's theatre on a miniature scale - a very fine job for their first time.