Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week Two: Scripts and Still Images

With introductions out of the way last week; it was all action stations for week two as we dived into creating the first section of our opening scene. Since this term we have such a large story to tell we wanted to throw the group straight into things. To open the session we had a quick game of 'what are you doing?' a classic Anthos game where one person stands in the centre of a circle and pretends to perform an action. The next person steps in and the first must give them an action to perform. The game is loads of fun and usually involves someone jumping out of/into a plane/volcano.

Next we got back to the still images that we created in the end of last week's session. Once everyone had remembered their frames we continued to build on them. We turned them into images of children on trains during WWII and then added some subtle movement to show that they are taking place on a train. In cases like this simple movement can be quite effective. 

We next created freeze frames of the children's parents waving the trains away from the station. Lots of great emotive faces from our group (and some minor fainting too, see above). Once we had these we split the group again. Some Chameleons were parents and some were children. We created small, silent scenes where the children board a train taking them to the countryside. By combining these freeze frames we had created the basis for our opening scene! Exciting stuff (and we haven't even revealed the casting yet).

Moving on from the doom and gloom of the wartime and evacuation; we had a quick break and then got back into the swing of things with a great game of Boal's 'go, stop, jump, clap.' The Chameleons are all very skilled at this game now and it is a great exercise for warming up.

For the last part of the session we gave the Chameleons some extracts from the show's script. We wanted to give them a chance to engage with the text before we begin working with in preparation for the final show. The extracts we chose featured a wide variety of characters, from Lucy to the White Witch- everyone was very excited to jump in and give it a read.


The Chameleons mission was to create short versions of these scenes. Everyone did a fantastic job at both reading and acting the text and we had some fantastic scenes performed at the very end of the session. We like to give the Chameleons the chance to play with the scripts in early stages of rehearsal. It means that everyone can have a go at playing all the characters before we give everyone out their final roles next week.  

A rather short blog post this week- it's crazy busy on our end and we're all a tad under the weather so short but sweet (I hope). The Chameleons created some wonderful work this week across the board and everyone is super excited for next week; when we shall be looking a characters, creating scenes, using physical theatre and, at last, receiving their parts. Until then, I leave you with some additional rehearsal snaps (again, not many this week, but enjoy).  

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week One: Winter Has Come

IT BEGINS! At long last our Chameleon Group returned with a bang this morning; as our magical journey through the wardrobe began. Those who have followed the great many social media posts we've done will know just how excited the Anthos team has been for this project. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantastic story full of adventure, magic, epic battles and talking beavers. The story is one we have wanted to adapt with the group for a long time and so it was pretty surreal to finally get started. As always, I will endeavour to keep the blog going each week- with a new post for each session. We'll see how that goes, but for now please enjoy the first chapter!

The cast this term is our largest to date; full of both familiar faces and plenty of new ones too. The response we've had to this term has been phenomenal and we were delighted to welcome everyone into our ever expanding Anthos family. To begin with, once we were all out of the rain (building issues) we got to know everyone's names. We thought it would be fun to make a game of it so we had the Chameleons toss a bean bag around the room to each other, saying the name of the person they throw it to. This is a super easy and fun way to get everyone familiar with each other and break that initial ice. This was also a good chance for new facilitator Ella (of AYC fame) to get to know everyone. On top of a large cast we have a wonderful support team of facilitators on board for the project.

For obvious reasons (namely it's great) we kicked off the movement games with a Augusto Boal technique- or a version of. In the game everyone need do the opposite of what the person in charge tells them. If they say jump, the group clap, if they say go then the group need to stop. The game is great fun and a nice way to ease newcomers into the high spirited and fun atmosphere of the sessions.

We next had them work together to create different shapes with their bodies. Again, as we focus on a lot of physical theatre with the group- this is our favourite way of getting the Chameleons to think creatively about how to paint a stage picture without props set and costume.

For our break we had cake for everyone to celebrate the birthdays over the summer holidays that we missed. It was also a good chance to catch up with everyone about their summers before we got stuck into the topical bit of the morning's session.

When we were back in the room we asked the group what they knew about the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Quite a few of the Chameleons know the tale well, it seems, and we discussed some of the characters that appear; from the Pevensie children to Aslan, to the Witch. We also talked about our performance and how we would set about creating the show. As always everyone is eager to know what part they will have in the show- though we managed to stand strong and reveal nothing (that will come in a few weeks).

What followed was an Anthos Arts tradition; a speed run. For those unfamiliar, a speed run is where either myself or Ben narrates the show and we ask the group act out events as we go. It is always mad and always intensely fun- everyone has a good laugh with a speed run. Primarily, we do this so that the group has a chance to try multiple characters and also grasp the story. Fifteen minutes after starting, we had performed a very very short version of what the final production will be.

To conclude the session we split the Chameleons into groups and asked them to create still images of children on a train. We talked about the beginning of the story and how all the events are set in motion because of the Second World War and the Blitz of London. Each team created some lovely images of train carriages which we hope will next week feature in the opening scene!

And so that's a wrap! It's fantastic to be back. The term looks like it is going to be wonderful- we have a lovely and very creative cast and all of us are eager to see what work they create in the coming weeks. Next week we will be focusing on acting games, techniques and beginning work on our first physical sequence. Until then.

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...