Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Girl and the Fox- Week Four: 'The Fox, the Owl and Nanuk the Bear.'

SNOW! It snowed this week in the city of Exeter and for a real moment it seemed as thought we might get snowed out again (flashback to The Three Musketeers anyone?). In a play that centres around a mystical blizzard, it would have been a harsh case of dramatic irony for certain. Thankfully the snowed cleared up (in Exeter at least) and the show went on. Big thanks to those of the group who came in through the cold and warm wishes to those who didn't make it to us yesterday. Back in the rehearsal room, our Chameleons were busy at work with the next phase of The Girl's journey, including meeting the titular Fox. We even had some costumes starting to appear. Exciting times indeed.

First we kicked off with a few games to get everyone warmed up. The shape game made a return this week after an absence for the last two and had a topical theme. Creatures from the north that feature in our story- including polar bears and walruses. Our group had their work cut out for them as they created these shapes, and what fantastic creations we had. The group really throw themselves into this and it is great to see.

The first thing we practiced was the opening scene, which we worked on last week. It is always good to backtrack and work on previous scenes, we find. In the long run it helps everyone to remember what they are doing and also how one transitions into another. Some of our Chameleons are already putting their scripts for scenes down too, which is brilliant to see.

Moving on we had the first meeting between The Girl and the Fox in the snowy forest. Having two Chameleons as the Girl and the Fox respectively makes for a lot of fun. We get to see what each of the performers brings to the role and then put it all together to form the character. It was fun having the Fox on stage; we talked a lot about what type of creature it is, how it glides over the snow and how it holds itself on stage. The recurring 'paws' between the two Fox performers is a nice touch. Also featured here was our wise owl Ataninnuaq, who sets the two off on their journey together. Some wonderful acting and character development from one Chameleon, who has really brought the bird to life on stage.

Having split the group to rehearse the scenes, our second group worked on the first obstacle that The Girl encounters; having to cross a canyon. We wanted to use puppets to portray this scene, as we felt it was a good opportunity for the group to learn how such effects could be achieved without high-budget visual effects (maybe one day). Featuring in the daring trapeze scene were our wonderful puppet and beautiful arctic fox, seen above. On a side note, we gave the Chameleons the challenge of naming the fox this week, but more on that later.

Within this scene we also have the first of Kova's many stories. This one involves Nanuk the Bear; a famous figure in Inuit mythology, especially to hunters. In our play is the tale of how the bear turned into stars after being chased off the edge of the world. It is one of the nicer tales from the culture and seemed appropriate to add to The Girl's tale, given that we wanted to really embrace these stories with the project. The Girl comes across a hungry bear on her travels, which prompts her to explain the story she remembers regarding a similar creature. 

It was such a fantastic rehearsal yesterday and the show is looking great. The Chameleons are really pouring a lot into this mad tale we have set out to make. As rehearsals continues it is wonderful watching it all come to life. A fun task was set this week too; we have a number of weird and wonderful items in our prop store at the moment-but no arctic foxes until now. This project is about the Chameleons as it is about the culture we want them to learn about and portray, so we felt it right that they get to name the Fox we will be using in the show. The task was to come up with ideas for names and then at the end of the morning we would name the fox. In the end we settled for calling him Storm. Above is Storm sitting proudly on the set for our AYC show.

We are so, very impressed with the group this term. Next week cannot come fast enough! In the meantime we will close with some more snaps from the rehearsal. Pyjama week next week to celebrate the halfway mark of the term, which means everyone can come in pyjamas or comfy clothes. Should be fun.

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