“The rainbow fish shared his scales left and right. And the more he gave away, the more delighted he became.”
Shea’s Performing Arts Center brings the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean to Buffalo on Sunday, January 26th with an original stage adaptation of Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Mermaid Theatre brings to life the original story along with two of the companion tales: Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea and Opposites. This creative production features puppetry, black lights, music, and pre-recorded narration by Laura Benati and Linda Wonneberger.
In The Rainbow Fish, a fish with shimmering scales is admired by all the underwater creatures. The sea creatures invite him to play, but he refuses. He won’t share any of his beautiful scales, and the other fish snub him. With no one to admire his scales, they start to mean less to him. The wise Octopus tells Rainbow Fish that to find happiness, he should give his scales away to anyone who asks. Rainbow Fish does, realizes that the more he shares, the happier he becomes.
WHAT KIND OF FISH IS RAINBOW FISH?
Marcus Pfister’s beautiful fish is unique because of his shimmery scales but is Rainbow Fish a real fish? Pfister wanted to distinguish his Rainbow Fish from all the others. He came up with the idea of using hot foil stamping to distinguish him from the others. However, there is a family of small, colorful fish known as rainbow fish. Unlike, Pfister’s Rainbow Fish, these small swimmers are freshwater fish native to Australia, Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia. There they live in streams, rivers, lakes, and swamps. They are peaceful yet active, and get along with most similarly sized, non-aggressive fish.
See real rainbow fish in action.
HOW ARE THOSE SCALES MADE?
The Rainbow Fish was the first children’s book to use hot foil stamping to create the sparkling foiled effect. Hot Foil Stamping is a process that involves applying metallic foil to the surface of paper. Some of the first manuscripts made used real gold leaf to decorate calligraphy. Today, the foiling process doesn’t use real gold leaf (except in very exceptional and expensive circumstances). Metallic foils are made of aluminum or tin and combined with a color layer to produce the desired effect. Foiling can be done manually, by using a hot foil stamping machine, or pneumatically, using an air-powered machine.
IS THE OCTOPUS REALLY WISE?
Octopus can be quite intelligent, with great ability to problem solve. They can recall both short- and long-term memories, determine patterns, distinguish size, colors, and shapes, and are even able to escape from captivity.
An octopus only lives in salt water and are in every ocean of the world. Their most common area of the ocean is along the coral reefs and ocean floor, where they create dens to live undetected in the water. Octopuses are highly adaptable creatures, able to benefit and learn from their environment. While a young octopus struggles to control their body, they actually learn to move through trial and error rather than just instinct. Just like humans, an individual octopus demonstrates advanced skills of intelligence.
PHILOSOPHY OF RAINBOW FISH
The Rainbow Fish explores what it means to be selfishness and the importance of sharing. =Author Marcus Pfister describes his award-winning children’s book as, “The story only wants to show us the joy of sharing. I want to show children the positive aspects of sharing: To share does not only mean to give away something (what is quite hard for a child), but above all to make someone else happy—and themselves happy by doing it.”
RAINBOW FISH AT SHEA’S
Shea’s brings The Rainbow Fish to Buffalo as part of a consortium that includes SUNY Potsdam and University of Pittsburg at Bradford through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. ArtsCONNECT increases access to live performing arts engagements to audiences across the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to the public performance, Shea’s invites the WNY community to a free story and craft hour at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. This event includes conversations around the book and the opportunity to engage your imagination and creativity.
Exploring the theme of sharing, Shea’s activities will look at how we share not only material possessions but how we share our stories, our culture, and our experiences with each other. The event features readings in multiple languages and the opportunity to create your own rainbow fish. Participants can design their own scale that will become a Rainbow Fish mural on display at Shea’s during the performances. This mural will be sent to the consortium members at Potsdam and the University at Pittsburg so they can add their own scales as part of their Rainbow Fish presentations.
This engagement of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is made possible through the ArstCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets to The Rainbow Fish at Shea’s are $8 and $11. Purchase online at sheas.org or at the Shea’s Box Office. The Story Hour at Buffalo and Erie County Public Library on Saturday, January 18, 2020 begins at 3pm and is FREE for the public.