Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week Six: 'A Day with the Beavers (in Fancy Dress)'

Week six for the Chameleons! Where's time going this term? Somehow, the end of October is upon us and so this week we dressed up for Halloween (well, the Chameleons did again). What kind of theatre company would we be if we didn't give the group a chance to throw on some fancy dress? Some impressive costumes all round. Anyways, back to Narnia and it was time for the Pevensie siblings to meet the Beavers and for the great betrayal to take place.

Fantastic costumes aside; we focused on characters and movement at the start of the rehearsal. With so many creatures of various shapes and sizes in the story we wanted to spend some time getting the Chameleons to think about how they could move around on stage in new and interesting ways to portray these beasts. We asked them to walk around as animals on their own, but for each animal there were rules they had to follow; such as when asked to be cats, nobody was allowed to crawl on their hands and knees. This made the group think outside the box and find different ways to portray simple animals. Animals that featured included; cats, giraffes and hippos. 

Next we asked them to work in groups to create a horse. This was an interesting challenge (as the group found) as between them they had six legs instead of four. Again this was done to get them thinking up new ideas for how to collectively create their horses. Finally we asked them to transform their horse into a centaur. The Chameleons came up with some fantastic ideas and produced some very nice pieces of physical theatre.    

Following on from last week's scenes, we dived in to where we had left off. In this scene we worked on the relationship between the four siblings and talked a lot about reacting to one another. Thinking about how the actions of the others in the show make their character feel. Lucy and Edmund in particular have several moments where they react to one another in quite strong ways. Exploring this is a great way to get into the mindset of a character and our Chameleons did a great job.

A new week means new scenes! As mentioned a lot happened in this week's scenes. We split up to work on the various plotlines in the show once again. One team rehearsed the scene where the children meet Mr and Mrs Beaver (and the baby Beaver) for the first time and find out about Aslan. Some wonderful acting from our Chameleons in this scene and some priceless reactions from the siblings when they meet their first talking animal.

Meanwhile the rest of the cast staged the scene where Edmund betrays the others and enters the Witch's house. The chorus has great fun coming up with statues of Narnians to have around her palace. The wolf chorus as well did a fantastic job this week of really getting stuck into their characters. Their physicality was brilliant and really made the characters feel interesting and believable. Edmund, the Witch and Gimmerbrick (her right hand) were also brilliant today- the cast are really enjoying their characters and it is making the scenes feel really strong.

After we had worked on the two scenes we came together again and shared the work. Again the focus was as much on the transitions between the scenes as it was about what was in them. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of the largest stories our Chameleon Group has every told and we're so grateful to have a cast who are so committed to telling it. Everyone is working hard learning lines, dances and actions and the show is really coming together. We officially hit the halfway point too; so to have so much great work already really shows what a stellar cast they are. 

That's all for this week! As we are now halfway into the play (and the performance is coming up fast), next week we shall begin introducing costume and props to the show. We've been busy behind the scenes assembling things and we can't wait to see everyone in costume over the coming weeks (especially after the fancy dress today). Up next the Pevensie children meet a familiar face and Edmund comes across a tea party. See you then. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week Five: 'What Lucy Found There.'

Morning (or evening/lunchtime/whatever time you are reading's currently AM at time of writing)! Apologies for the delay in the blog post this week, yesterday was incredibly busy following the session and there was no time for the usual blog post. IT SHALL NOT BE STOPPED however, so here we are with a slightly delayed look at yesterday's rehearsal with the Chameleons.

Last week we got started on the show. Scene one came together and progressing this week we aimed to look at the next scenes along. It being Saturday morning and half term, we thought it best to open with some games. Nothing too draining this week: some running and some shapes. This week's themes were things you would find in space, at a supermarket and a magic school (but not Hogwarts). With each week the group seems to adapt more to this game and the shapes are getting more and more creative. Favourites this week included goes to the old man on the moon, the 'random' sorting hat and the supermarket sale sign.

Onto the scenes and we are well and truly through the wardrobe this week. We divided the cast to work on multiple scenes at once. One team stayed in the room to work on Lucy's first meeting with the faun Tumnus. What was lovely about watching this scene come together is that the cast have clearly taken the time to read and start learning their scripts and so sprang into action with confidence. The scene is a mix of conversation and physical theatre; the first half of the rehearsal was spent on the former.

When time came for Tumnus to play his flute, the physical theatre madness began. With such a large chorus this term, we wanted to include them in as much of the show as possible. Here Tumnus' lullaby shows Lucy visions of Narnian creatures from the time of summer. The chorus created their own movements to signify what animals they had chosen; such as owls, deer, foxes and tigers. This peace is undermined however as a hooded figure appears and begins turning them to stone. The cast did a fantastic job at creating this scene- it is always wonderful to see them get stuck in and create devised work for the show.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the cast focused on Edmund's meeting with the White Witch. Parallel to Lucy's scene, Edmund's encounter is a very important one, as it is the first time we are introduced to the villain of the story. Again the cast gave loads of ideas for what could go into the scene and made some cool and hilarious character decisions. What was most impressive here was, to hark on about physical theatre some more (we love it), the creation of the sleigh. The chorus worked together to form the creatures which pull the Witch's sleigh; making her entrance all the more grand.

Afterwards we all came back together to run through what we had done and show each other the work we had made. Practising the transitions between the scenes was a large focus of this part, as knowing how one scene changes to the next is equally as important as knowing what happens in the scene itself. The cast worked really hard and the two scene created fit nicely with one another. Success!

The cast worked really hard this week; practising what we had done last week and adding new material on top. We were a few members down again this week but in spite of this the show is looking great. The hard work they are putting in is certainly showing and there will be much more to come next week; where Peter and Susan find out the truth about what is in the wardrobe and Edmund makes a horrible choice. Until then enjoy some of our rehearsal pics (though slightly blurred this week I think due to the lighting of the room).

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week Four: Lucy looks into a Wardrobe

It's WOW weekend! For those unaware, WOW (the 'Women of the World' festival) is a celebration of women's and girl's achievements, past and present. In recognition of this wonderful festival we wanted to celebrate all of the amazing fierce, funny and fabulous girls and women in our Chameleon cast and team! These girls are incredible and it's through them that one day there will be equality throughout society. They inspire us all.

We got straight into things this week with a favourite acting warm up of ours. 'What's in the box?' is a great game in which the group can ease themselves into acting and warm up their imagination and improvisation skills. The game involves passing around an imaginary box, one by one someone will open the box and take out a item; the rest of the group then has to guess what the item is from the action that person shows. We always have a wide variety of objects that emerge from Amazon Alexas to kittens.

We then played a game of buzzy bees. In this game the group walk around the room and have to become objects from a certain category. In some versions, the leader would say a letter and everyone would have to become a shape beginning with that letter. However, we prefer a more topical approach to see what ideas the group can come up with. The topics this week included what you might find in a lunchbox, a school and a museum. We had some great responses, such as breadcrumbs, angry headteachers and dinosaur skeletons.

We then split the group. One team went with Ben to work on the dialogue for the opening scene of the play. Group two stayed behind to create our opening train sequence- which we had started in week two, but were revisiting now everyone had their characters. Ben's team saw Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund arrive at the train station to be greeted by the mean Mrs Macready. They focused on character here, looking at how they stand and move and talk. In particular, they focused on how to make the housekeeper come across as strict through the use of physical actions, as well s words.

Meanwhile the two Chorus groups were paired up as parents and children. In these pairs they brought to life a train station scene filled with people. Our conductor then emerges to announce that the train is leaving and from there we created a physical theatre sequence to show the children travelling through to the country.

This term we have loads of birthdays; today we celebrated another two! As per usual, we celebrated as a group and there was cake...well, Swiss roll, but that counts, right? The celebration was a much needed break from working on the scenes as we had spent a while working on all the different bits. Plus it's always great when there is cake involved.

To finish we came together again as a group and showed each other what work we had created. The two parts of the scene were put together and the end result was a rather nice looking first scene! It was great seeing the work from both groups come together and we're excited for next week when the adventure through the wardrobe really begins!

Another fun week for everyone; these guys produce some fantastic work and are really beginning to get the hang of working together as a large group. Next week we will be looking at more scenes. The adventure continues!

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...