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BLOG: Interview with Daniel Naddafy

Daniel Naddafy is an actor and theatre maker who for the past ten years has predominately worked in children’s theatre. His work has taken him all over the UK as well as the world, performing in Norway, Japan and South Korea.

In this interview, Daniel reveals more about Glisten – coming to Half Moon from Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 December 2022 – the inspiration for the story, the challenges for creating a show for babies, and what he loves about shiny materials.

Book tickets for Glisten

Tell us a little about Glisten. What’s the show about?

Glisten is a gentle show that takes the audience on a journey through the world of shiny materials. It starts simply with an empty space that slowly grows into a landscape of colour and sounds.

Why did you want to create a show specifically for the 0-18 month age range?

I have performed in a few shows for babies, but always wanted to make my own. A lot of work for this age range is beautiful but not always artistically engaging for the adults, who are taking the babies to the theatre. I wanted to create something that would be artistically engaging for everyone, and I think I have achieved this with the music, which really seems to link the adults and babies. A Dad told me recently that he used to love going clubbing, but that he rarely had the chance too now because of his baby. He said Glisten felt like he was going clubbing during the day with his baby. This was one of the best compliments I have ever had.

What are the challenges for creating a show for this age range?

You never really know what the audience will do. I have had a couple of shows where babies have wanted to stand right in the middle of the performance space and you can’t really do much about that! You just have to work around them and try not to stand on them. This also makes the performance really exciting.

What was the inspiration for the show?

Years ago, I went to an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery called The Light Show, which featured artworks that used light in different ways. I was amazed by all the parents who had taken babies to the exhibition (which wasn’t specifically for babies) and how much they had all enjoyed it. The babies were mesmerised by all the artwork. I spent half my time watching their reactions rather than the looking at the installations. I knew then I had to make something for babies and that it would incorporate light.

So how did the piece come to fruition?

I started chatting with an old friend, visual artist Phoebe Stubbs, about the project and we decided to collaborate. We started to play with foil sheets and torches in my kitchen and then this slowly developed into a performance. We previewed a very rough version of the show at Off Beat Festival in Oxford. The Oxford Playhouse then supported a few days development before Half Moon came onboard and helped us complete the show and tour it. The performance has changed dramatically from our initial idea but that’s the beauty of developing work over a few years.

What is it about shiny things that glisten that appeal to you?

Everyone likes shinny things! I suppose it reminds us of Christmas or the fun fair, or maybe chocolate wrappers, but I am really interested in how light changes and plays with shinny material. I am also fascinated how, in just a few seconds, you can totally change the mood and atmosphere of the room using coloured lights and shiny foil material. It also moves and behaves strangely in different weather, or if it has been scrunched up a lot. Just like babies, you never quite know how it will behave.

Describe Glisten in three words.

Quirky, stylish and shiny.

Please note: This Christmas, the lead role in Glisten will be played by Alessio Bagiardi.

✨ Glisten
👶 0-18 months
📆 Thu 15 & Fri 16 | 10.30am, 12pm & 2pm
📆 Sat 17 Dec | 11am, 1pm & 3pm

Book tickets to Glisten

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