Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Notes from the Yellow Brick Road - An unexpected beginning

Having read an adapted version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the first semester, my classes will perform play of the same story to an audience of their families during the second semester. I had planned to give some of my split class time to rehearsals ahead of the shows in May but the students, keen as ever, wanted to get started straight away. This caught me slightly unawares as I was prepared to do something completely different but they insisted and, in the spirit of student-centeredness, I went with their idea.

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Image by airdiogo

Rather than start cold on page 1, I thought a warm-up activity was needed so I asked each student to come to the front in turn and introduce their characters to the class. I advised them to start with the walk, add the mannerisms and then the words. It worked well both as a warmer and away to get them into character ahead of starting rehearsal. We then extended it by having the whole group get up at the same time and ‘mingle’ all the while staying in character.

We only had time to practise the first few scenes after that but I saw an immediate benefit from the introductory activities as they actually acted rather than just reading from the script. It’s early days yet but there are a few things to work on - positioning for one as many students turned their backs to the ‘audience’ area and stood far away from the characters they were supposed to be talking to. I also anticipate issues with the students who are on stage but not speaking - they have a tendency to scratch their noses, yawn and pull faces. They need to learn they are in view on the stage!

Plenty of time to iron those problems out though and I’ll keep you posted with more notes from the Yellow Brick Road as we near the Emerald City!

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great start. Will there be any sneak peak videos coming our way?
    Good luck with the blogging block!
    Ceri

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  2. One of my favourite stories--now I feel like I want to find an adapted version of it for my classes.

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  3. What a great idea to tell them to start with the walk Dave! Not only got them to move around (and spend some energy we know YL have in heaps) but also gave them the easiest, non-threatening way to get into character.

    I'm really sorry we couldn't put into action a possible collaboration of mine in this project - having lived in Kansas and all. I would have really enjoyed meeting your students :-)

    Good luck with the next stages! And don't forget to keep us posted! :-)

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