Sunday, 2 December 2018

Story Makers- The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat: Week 4 & 5: 'Sea Cave' & 'Masks'

Greetings! Welcome back. Following a particularly long working week last week (14 days uninterrupted in total) it completely escaped me that there had been no post to cover last week. So, in the spirit of making up for lost time; this week there is a double post. It has been a pretty good couple of weeks with the story makers; with the themes for the weeks being creating a sea cave and masks respectively.

WEEK 4: 

Early into the term I had a conversation with a parent about one of our members and what they wanted to wear to the session. It went like this, though they wanted to wear a particular outfit they felt too self-conscious to do so. Thus, in order to highlight the fact that you should never be ashamed to enjoy fancy dress and that the group can wear whatever they want, providing its practical, we held a fancy dress week. It was the same as a regular week, but everyone was asked to come in fancy dress. Drama for the win: they all looked great.

The theme for our fourth week returned to the concept of set building; creating which can help you tell you story out of objects which individually don't help much. We had a suitcase of material, string and nets for the story makers to use in creating a 'seaweed' cave, similar to the one which features at the end of the story.

It was a mad hour as the group set about creating their cave using the items from the suitcase and a few chairs from the cafe next door. For the duration of the activity the group added more and more layers to their den and created a very fancy looking cave. It was wonderful watching the group help one another and work together towards their objective. Some would work on the roof whilst others worked on winding string around everything to hold it together and make walls.

It was nice watching the story makers working towards a shared objective for once. During week two they helped to make a boat, but still everyone seemed to find enjoyment in their own section of the boat. This week in particular saw them thinking about a unified goal and complimenting each other's work in order to achieve this.


So far the story makers have looked at mapping stories, creating props and set, and puppets to help them tell the story. This week I wanted to explore with them a different means of telling a story yet again: through the use of masks. Masks were one of the first forms of theatre ever invented. Dating back to Ancient Greece when fantastically carved masks would feature in shared stories and performances. The masks would be key elements in the stories told and so it seems a wasted opportunity not to cover this with a drama group all about stories!

We talked about the characters from the story and which characters we might like to make. We had enough masks for everyone to create two characters. Most of the group went for a character from the story and one original one. The masks which we were focusing on today were half-masks, masks that cover some but not all of a person's face.

Half masks seemed more appropriate for the task. Full face masks are notoriously difficult to speak in, as they cover a person's face completely. Our masks needed to be functional, they needed to show what characters from the story we were, while allowing us to tell the story. We did, however, also find a couple of full masks in the bag and so some of our story makers decided to go ahead and make full face ones too. Feedback was that they were harder to colour because there was more mask.

At the end of the session we had some sharing time. The last few weeks haven't featured much of this, but allowing the group the chance to share and express work with each other is an important part of building confidence in themselves and trust in others. The Story-Makers sessions aim to give this space so that our participants can express themselves without worry. It was nice hearing the feedback from everyone and also listening to the group talk about what different masks they had created.

And so we come to the end of a longer-than-usual post. I will endevour to be more on the ball next week. There may be some delay, as our Chameleons have both their dress rehearsal next week and final performance the week after; which cross over with the final two sessions for our Story-Makers this term! A busy but fun couple of weeks they will be I am sure.

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