Saturday, 2 June 2018

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- Week Five: 'The Flying Monkeys, The Crows & The Witch.'

It's half term! Well, the end of it anyway; and what better way to see it finish than with our wonderful Chameleons? This week we were down on adults, as between the University open day and the holidays our team was stretched thin- we won't be beaten, however and so the show carried on anyways! This week we were working on the Wicked Witch of the West's scenes and working with the chorus to bring the flying monkeys and evil crows to life!

To kick things off we did some stretches and played some physical warm ups. Top choices this week were Boal's 'go, stop, jump, clap' game- where the Chameleons have to do the opposite of what they are told. This week they also had to contend with the 'space' rule, using only their bodies to fill as much of the room as possible. It's a great way to get the group thinking about the space they're in and who is around them.

Then we played 'the mirror game' where the Chameleons are put into pairs and have to copy the movements of one another. These can be the smallest or biggest of movements and it is wonderful watching how everyone responds to the game. There was a lot of laughter. It helps people to get into the mindset of chorus work, as the chorus need to move together and often copy each other's movements.

Afterwards we set to work on building up the fly monkey movements. The Chameleons were asked to move as monkeys and then greet each other. The one rule was that they weren't allowed to speak, only make animal noises. This got everyone thinking about how their monkey might move and behave. At the same time we worked on integrating the Monkey King and Captain Oreo, the witch's henchmen- one being played by a cast member and the other being a puppet. Both had to move different to the rest of the chorus.

When we'd worked out the movements we got stuck into the scene, figuring out with the chorus where they were going to be and what role they would have to play. It was great seeing the Wicked Witch in her castle with her henchmen for the first time and everyone worked to make the scene funny and engaging.

Following the break we learned how the crows were going to be handled. Given that we already have loads of puppets and movement sequences we opted for a minimalist approach to the winged beasts. The Chameleons were show a simple way in which they could transform their hands into birds; a technique often using within shadow puppetry. Once everyone had the movements learned we explored how they could move and interact. The chorus were fantastic this week, adapting to each and every task they were given.

Once all of the elements were established we put them all together in the scene. For such a short scene there were a lot of things to do. It is all of these things, though, that make it such a good scene; for there is some brilliant back and forths between the Witch, Monkey King and Oreo mixed together with some fantastic movement work from the chorus which brings the castle to life.

To conclude we played a game called 'object in a box.' In this game the group have to take it in turns to take an object out of an imaginary box that they can use. They must then perform an action that tells everyone what their object is. We always have a great range of objects in the box and it is a lot of fun trying to guess what everyone finds inside it.

And so another week passes and we are now halfway through the term! Madness. These guys continue to impress and amaze us however and they produced some incredible work today! Next week we will return to Dorothy as she and Toto meet the first of their magical companions. Until then, as usual, pictures. See you next week! 

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