Welcome back! This morning saw the second week of Princess Irene and her adventures with our Chameleon Group. As always the group were bright-eyed and ready to jump straight into the action as the session began. This week we continued to explore the world of 'The Princess and the Goblins!' with more of a focus on the latter part of that title in the session. First, however, as usual we had our round of warm up games! Today's favourites featured a one-handed game of catch the bean bag (which went off without a hitch despite cast-of the medical variety- and bad hand-eye coordination from Ben). Then there was, after multiple requests from the Chameleons, a brilliantly speedy round of 'wink murder,' which is rapidly becoming a continuous theme throughout the project (we will make detectives out of these guys yet). Finally we had time for our own version of Captain's Coming: 'Minotaur Attack!' A game in which the group has to run to a designated part of the room. Usually the game has a more piratey theme, however during our 'Theseus and the Minotaur!' project last year we invented a version that replaced nautical names with those matching the Theseus legend, such as Crete, Athens, Atlantis and Olympus. The Chameleons committed themselves wholeheartedly to the game and eventually, after many people had been eliminated, ended up in a back to back splat duel, which are always great fun.
Once the showdown had splatted itself to conclusion, the Chameleons had a chance to get experimenting with various ways of moving their body and thinking how this can be linked into different characters in the play. To begin with they were asked to move around the rehearsal space as different animals (cat, tiger, kangaroo, pigeon, elephant, etc) and encouraged to think about how each of those animals walked and how their bodies could be used to replicate this. From there each Chameleon was asked to think about how they imagined a goblin would walk and talk. As they went around the room their unique goblins took shape. Layer by layer we added detail to the characters such as voice and mannerisms. At the end of the exercise we spoke as a group about everyone's own goblin and discussed what kind of goblins we want to feature in the final performance.
Next came some fun improvisation games. Before returning to the story of Princess Irene we wanted to have a go at creating some scenes and some characters, as we had touched upon this in the goblin exercise previously. We started with a few rounds of 'what are you doing?' as the Chameleons all seemed to enjoy it last week. Again, some wonderful actions and interactions were created as everyone joined in and had a go. Then we moved onto a game that featured in many of our previous projects. The Chameleon's think of a character and a place that we might find that character (for instance the character might be King and the place might be 'castle'), then Jake selects a person be take on that character. Finally the group is asked who else might be there and what the scenario might be (the second person might be a Queen and they might be discussing lunch). The fun aspect of the game is that sometimes the settings can be realistic and other times fantastical. Today, for instance one scene featured Poseidon wandering around Atlantis, where he met a mermaid and embarked on an epic adventure to recover her stolen necklace and defeat an evil witch. Another featured a cowgirl visiting a supermarket after being shipwrecked on a deserted island, though the shopkeeper was not fond of her presence in his 'personal space.' Everyone had a great laugh exploring the scenes and discussing some of the strengths and difficulties with improvisation.
Our last bit of improvisation was giving the Chameleons a stimulus for a scene and seeing what they could come up with in ten minutes, which is a challenge for many experienced performers. Ideas flew out of the group as they devised a story in which a band of friends visit a haunted house and uncover the secret of the werewolf lurking within. All that was given to them was that it had to be set in a haunted house, the rest they added and it turned out to be a very enjoyable five minute piece.
Finally we reconnected with Princess Irene. The task this week was to create a quick version of the overall story. Characters were assigned for the sake of the task and the Chameleons took to the stage to bring the characters to life. This week saw a number of new variations in how they were played and it was wonderful to watch fresh take on it. Next week we will continue to work on the characters of the play, Princess Irene and her friends and family, as we start moving towards what the performance will look like in eight weeks time!