Saturday, 6 October 2018

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- Week Three: Chorus & Characters

Week three! This morning was certainly an exciting one- as long time Chameleons know we traditionally reveal our casting decisions on the third week of a project. This term was no different; the team spent many hours together and apart brainstorming and discussing who should play who, and with such a large cast it certainly took a while. Whilst arguably that was the most anticipated event of the week- this was still a rehearsal and so there was still work to be done. The focus of the week was, as you may have gathered, the Chorus. 

Being very passionate fans of Ancient Greek theatre, we adore the use of a Chorus (done well). Last term we featured a Chorus in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and wanted to bring it back again. The story of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy is a long one with many different characters appearing throughout. Large as our cast is it would be hard (and pretty boring we reckon) to just have everyone playing a single part. The addition of a Chorus means there is more opportunity to play around with physical theatre- which our cast are particularly good at. 

Originally, in Ancient Greece, the inclusion of a Chorus was usually to represent the people of a city of place. They worked together as one unit; so we started the session off with some activities which would help the cast to begin working cohesively to achieve a goal on stage. We began with the shape game- creating individual shapes first alone and then in small groups- to get everyone focusing on how they could use their bodies in different ways. 

As this game progressed and the groups got bigger, we asked everyone to think about how they could use everyone in their group to create the desired shape, in this way getting them to essentially act as one unit to achieve their goals. There were some lovely ideas and our Chameleon teams did a fantastic job of creating creatures that could move and make sound (even using levels as well). 

The game we played next was also targeted towards Chorus work. Often, in physical theatre, the Chorus must move as one unit. To get the Chameleons thinking about this we had everyone stand in a circle around one person and copy what they did. Building on that, we then got the cast into pairs and had them copy each other. Everyone had such amazing concentration in this part of the rehearsal that you could hear a pin drop. The Chameleons this term are definitely made for Chorus work! 

After a well deserved break we sat down and looked at our character list. Normally we tell everyone their roles at the end of the session. However, this term we decided to tell everyone individually- wanting to have some one-on-one time to discuss each character and ensure every cast member was familiar with what they were doing. 

Whilst this went on, the rest of the team focused on character work. How does a character move? What kind of creatures live in Narnia? What traits do these characters have? There are a number of named and unnamed animals which feature in the story so this was a great way to get everyone thinking about what kind of creatures they might want to feature in the performance. 

Once everyone had been told their characters we finally sat down together as a cast and revealed who was playing who. Everyone was very excited to share their characters with each other and receive their scripts. With that, the preparation work concludes and, starting next week, we begin work on the show! The first few weeks feel like they have flown by and we cannot wait to get the ball rolling next week. Until then! 

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