Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Peter Pan: Week 6- 'Following the Leader' & Mermaids!

It's half term!!! Well, not for us, we are still here and our Chameleons were hard at work again on Saturday as we continued to develop Peter Pan! There was a lot of physical theatre this week and we had a lot of fun. Apologies now for the late post; we had another event on Saturday which consumed the usual blog-writing hours of the day. Anyway, let's jump in.

The focus this week was on creating some of the more physical scenes of the show. We kicked off with some nice relaxing yoga stretches and some shape making. This week we went even more abstract than normal and asked the chameleons to become different embodiments of elements, such as fire, water, rock and wind. Their task was to become objects that these things made them think of. We had some fantastic creations; from fearsome monsters to calm, flowing rivers. The chameleons are proving themselves to be excellently imaginative physical performers.

After that we went to work on the forest scene. In this famous scene, John and Michael accompany the lost boys on an adventure through the forest. We wanted to do something creative with this scene, but also wanted to see what the group did when given the task of creating it, so we took them on a semi-guided journey as a group in a game not dissimilar to follow the leader.

The chameleons had to stand together as a group and whoever was at the point of the group was the leader. They had to walk and the others had to follow them, walking and moving exactly as the leader did. When we said to stop, someone else would take over as the group leader. The walk started off easy, but then the group encountered several obstacles in their path.

First it was just thick bushes and vines blocking the path, but the obstacles soon became harder and harder to overcome. A sea of thorns saw the group crawling along underneath it. A huge river saw the group leaping from rock to rock and balance on logs just to stay dry. At one point there was even the sounds of a monster chasing them; which they had to swing across a large canyon to escape. Eventually the lost boys found their way out of the forest; looking a bit more weary as a result! All had fun and it was great seeing how the different leaders responded to the tasks we gave them.

After that the group separated. One team went to work on Captain Hook and Mr Smee's first scene together while the second began work on our spectacular mermaid dance! The chameleons were very open-minded as we created the dance (and patient, as we had a chair standing in for Wendy this week). We talked about how we thought mermaids would move underwater and experimented by swimming around the room to music. This built up into thinking about interactions; how could we show the mermaids interact with Wendy?

The girls made some incredible work and it was a delight watching them devise a scene completely based in movement. The fun part was definitely watching each other be mermaids and experimenting with how they could all move to represent the graceful underwater beings.

When the group reconvened we shared our work. The scene between Captain Hook and Mr Smee was very entertaining. It is clear that our chameleons are coming to grips with their characters and are excited to play them. Everyone was eager to give positive feedback as well, which was lovely to hear!

So with that another week has come to an end. We are so thrilled with all of the work that the group has put in so far and are excited to see where the show goes next. We are actually on half term next week (even we have to sleep sometime), so are back in a couple of weeks! Until then; have a nice half term! As usual, here are the pics:

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Peter Pan- Week 5: 'You can fly!'

With the big character reveals of last week finally out of the way, this week we set about working on the opening scenes with our wonderfully talented and energetic chameleons! It was fantastic watching the work they created today and we are very excited for what is to come next! For now though, what did we get up to this week?

First of all we entered into the session with some easy yoga. I personally like starting this way as it gets the group relaxed and ready for the morning's activities. Plus it is always good to stretch before performing physical theatre (or just running, in this group's case). It also helps the cast to think about their bodies and how they are moving, a key aspect of physical theatre and something very important to most of the characters in the play who are largely movement based.

Once everyone was warmed up they took part in a 'flying' activity. To a peaceful, relaxing soundscape, the group walk around the room and imagine they are in a field. This field goes on as far as the eye can see. It is night time and the moon and stars are all out on display. Slowly, the group start to get faster and faster. Eventually they are told that their feet leave the floor and to imagine what it feels like to fly.

Still to the peaceful music everyone glides through the air, past the stars and through the clouds. The activity winds down with everyone steadily drifting back down to earth, feeling tired. They land and have to walk, then crawl, then slide themselves along until they curl up in a ball asleep. Afterwards we discussed how it felt to fly and whether these feelings could be emulated when we stage the flying scene in a couple of weeks. Back to the present, we then asked everyone to work in pairs to create different shapes. This week we had another variety of shapes for the pairs to make, such as. diamond, a vending machine, a bag of sweets, a submarine and, in groups of three, a lighthouse.

After the break we talked about our visit to the Northcott theatre during the week to see 'Around the World in 80 Days.' Everyone talked about what it was they liked about it, as well as things they thought maybe could work in Peter Pan. It was a brilliant discussion and very useful for those who are completing their Explore award with us this term.

Finally we set about working on the first scenes. In the beginning of the play we see children playing games in the street. To help the group stage this we played a version of 'stuck in the mud,' where everyone has to run from one side of the room to another and avoid being caught. Everyone was tired by the end but we had unknowingly staged the beginning of the scene, as the game will be played in silence while the Narrator begins the story.

After that we split up. One group worked on scene one, where Mr Darling declares Wendy's last night in the nursery after the boy's games get his favourite suit ruined, while the other group worked on Peter Pan and Tinkerbell's first scene. Each group worked very hard and the scenes we had created by the end of the session were very impressive and had some lovely physical theatre in them.

That's all for now. Next week we will continue to look at the beginning, potentially some puppetry as well. We are also excited as next week we are returning to Exeter Library for another brilliant arts award workshop for children and families (our 'Exploring Stories' workshop). They will be drama, craft and fun! Check out the website for more info (www.anthosarts.com) In the meantime enjoy more snaps from rehearsal.

Theseus and the Minotaur/The Odyssey: Week 6- 'Down in the Labyrinth/ Circe's island.'

A quick blog entry this week- as we are neck deep into rehearsals now and at that point in the term where there's little to say abo...