Review: ‘Childish Things’ at Charm City Fringe Festival

Hamlet Cooper is an archaeologist. In Childish Things, they use real artifacts from their childhood to recreate scenes which take the audience back to ages six, twelve, thirteen. Cooper always wanted to be a singer and actor and, with this piece, they have achieved that goal.

Hamlet Cooper in Childish Things. Photograph courtesy of the artist.

At the beginning of Childish Things, Hamlet Cooper asked us to sit on the floor and imagine something from our childhoods. They explain that they use this technique to access the creativity that they had at a younger age. As an archaeologist, their premise is that we reject the parts of ourselves that we feel we have outgrown as we age, but that our possessions- our “artifacts”- can help us to reclaim and accept out past selves.

Cooper has some interesting technological tricks that they use to convey certain scenes in their adolescence. For me, an AIM conversation was particularly relevant. Many people will be able to relate to Cooper’s failed attempts at finding love at the tender age of twelve utilizing the medium of the World Wide Web. Likewise, one appreciates the bravery in Cooper’s discussion of being non-binary and bisexual.

A highlight of this play is when Cooper sings an ode to straight boys. This is an original composition which they accompany with a guitar. The multi-talented Cooper does not let any silence fill the room throughout the course of this show. There is a lot of music, whether queued up or played by Cooper. You really get a good sense of what kind of person Hamlet Cooper was as a child and who they are now.

Childish Things is a lighthearted, fun romp through Hamlet Cooper’s past. Cooper shows that the physical objects we hold on to are as much a part of ourselves today as they were when we were young. Childish Things is a work of art as well as a work of archaeology–extracted with care and dug right up from the dirt of our lives.

Childish Things plays through November 12, 2017, at the 322 Studio – 322 North Howard Street, in Baltimore, MD. Tickets and Charm City Fringe Festival buttons may be purchased at Fringe HQ (Le Mondo, 406 N Howard Street), the venue, or online.

Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market is joining DC Theater Arts in support of our coverage of the Charm City Fringe Festival. The Market closes at 6 PM on weekdays and is closed Sundays, but we recommend that Fringe-goers stop by on Saturday to grab lunch and take a look around, in addition to checking out the local bands which play from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.


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