We're past the halfway mark now! Where has the time gone? That's right; today was week five of our Chameleon's 'Alice in Wonderland!' project! Over the previous weeks there has been one thing that the group have both loved doing and which has helped further along the development of their characters and the show overall. Playing. It might sound simple, but playing with characters is one of the best ways for an actor to get a better understanding of who or what they are playing. That's what this week was about: playing with the show and everyone's characters.
With our numbers reduced due to half-term we had to adapt our plans; as such we let the Chameleons choose their own games this week (they're somewhat experts on our drama games at this point). We decided to go with Party Quirks in the end, which briefly appeared last week. Once again our party hosts had very interesting guests, including; a butterfly, Puss in Boots, Dorothy and characters from the Wizard of Oz, and an elite Stormtrooper.
Then we did a fun exercise called Mirroring, where everyone has to work in partners (this week I got involved-see horrific image above) and copy everything the other person does. The exercise comes from physical theatre and is very useful when working closely with a specific partner or person. Things start out slow, say with person A moving their arm and person B copying them, and progress to the point where person A may roll around on the floor or lift their leg up very high, while the other person copies as best they can. It is a lot of fun and there was a good deal of laughter involved this morning as we played the game.
Then we moved onto our first scene of the week; Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Shortly after arriving in Wonderland, Alice comes across the Tweedle siblings; a playful pair who love their games. Here is where the mirroring exercise helped; the siblings like to move, but often they act as reflections of each other. That means when one of them moves, the other usually does the same. When Alice first enters they decide to play a trick on her and pretend to be statues; only when she's not looking they strike a different pose. The Chameleons had a lot of fun striking silly poses behind Alice's back.
We then moved onto the Forest of Flowers scene, where Alice wanders into the Flower Forest and meets some rather unpleasant blooms. The focus on this scene was how can we move like flowers? Obviously flowers are quite far removed from regular human characters, so we had to think outside the box about how we could combine the personality of a flower into the way we move. We also thought about voice and personality, again not something you associate with flowers. What is our flower like; nice or nasty? What might it sound like; gentle voiced or loud and snappy? Rose and Lily, our two flower characters are very different from one another; so we had fun playing with the lines and making them sound different enough that this was clear. Again a lot of fun was had as we played around and tried to be a little bit silly and see where that lead us. It is Alice in Wonderland, after all, it should be a little silly.
We then had a look at the Caterpillar, this time without the puppet. We thought about how he might sound and act like towards Alice. There are many different versions of the Caterpillar and so we decided that our version would be smart. Arrogantly so. After having a play around with some different voices and movement we ended up with a very nice scene.
To bring the rehearsal to a close we played another round of Party Quirks (which apparently was this week's favourite game). The last round featured various Pokemon, a rabbit, Emperor Palpetine of Star Wars fame and a growling Bear. All in all another fun rehearsal. It's only three weeks until the performance now and we're very pleased with how things are coming together and excited to be able to show everyone on the 24th June. Next week we will hopefully get to work on Alice's meeting with the dreaded Queen of Hearts! See you then!