Day 16 (Monday 26/09/16)

In the first few minutes before class the last group had their presentation and it was about Showstopper the Improvised Musical. They are a group of improvisers who spend a lot of time practicing. They do a lot of workshops and are extremely focused on improvisation. They have done over 700 musicals and all of them unique as they are all improvised.

Practical at E0.44 with Lynn

Commission work

First thing we did was review what legends, myths, parables, fables and fairy tales are. While Lynn went to get the script for our street performance, in a circle we discussed what every single one of those were and what their differences. At this point everyone already knew what they all were. So did I, but as I had researched legends and myths the day before I was much more informed on that topic. Unfortunately I had mostly forgotten all the things i had researched. We then read through the script that Lynn brought and I had the exciting part of being a guest! Afterwards we got into groups of 3 and tried to figure out problems that could potentially arise. Plenty of them did. But we also found plausible solutions to most, if not all of them. They were mostly technical difficulties but there was also a big red alert, as Lynn said, for us to find and figure out. First problem was how could we make the magic table “be laid!”. Some good solutions to that problem would be to have a table cloth covering it and on one side of the table you’d have it laid and on the other it would be empty. As for the table legs they could either be stick in and stick out or they can be rotatable. You could also have some people dressed in black just lay the table. It would be slightly less magical but nobody would actually question who the people on stage putting the table are. Having the donkey poo some pennies is surprisingly an easy task as there were many solutions. All sorts of mechanisms were suggested in which you would raise the tail and the donkey would poo pennies. But as it was suggested as well, the donkey could have a chord linking his head to his tail and when he lowered his head, the tail would lift and he would poo pennies. Like this no one would have to raise the tail and donkey could poo pennies by himself. The three magic items, in fact, were technical difficulties and “Cudgel, out of sack” was one as well. It was suggested, and I had thought of this before, that the cudgel would move by itself but in the hands of another person. So, the person would be the one doing the whacking but pretending like they’re not controlling the cudgel. Something that is still not in the script is when they are travelling around the world, they visit new places but how would they switch locations? That is something that still hasn’t been clearly solved but I think that just walking and having a way to signal the passing of a lot of time quickly would be alright. Speaking about location, the place we are going to perform in and weather conditions could really screw us over. We will have to adapt to it and go through everything anyway, so if our props had some kind of slight water proofing it would be ideal. We must also think about our audience though, we don’t know who we’re going to perform to. Maybe only a handful of people, or maybe 30 kids of varying ages. So we should prepare our performance to firstly, have the lowest age requirement possible and secondly it should not rely on audience interaction but it should have some whenever possible. Obviously we wouldn’t pick the 2 year old kid who looks frightened to death. So we are also trying not to scare our audience and so any scene that could be violent, or dramatically sad or scary could be transformed into some comedic sketch. For example when the cudgel hits people on their heads it could make a comedic squeaky sound. We would also have some trouble to get people to look at our performance from the start so we should advertise it maybe a few minutes or hours earlier to ensure that at least some people see it from the start. As mentioned, the red alert, which nobody could guess what it was until we got some hints: Kids will shout that the table was switched, when the innkeeper switches the magic table for an ordinary one. This is quite a problem to the whole plot and the solutions that we found might just work. You could have an innkeeper who is not intimidating (like Thalia) telling the kids to maybe shush and go along or the solution that I think is best: don’t let the kids know the tables were switched until later on. First time when the table is switched and son comes back to mother he could just not know why it isn’t working. Maybe it has broken? But when the donkey gets switched and second son comes home he could figure out, together with first son that it must’ve been the innkeeper and warn third son about this. I support this solution as it seems like the most believable one, even though at first it might leave kids really confused.

We also did voice projection exercises where firstly we had to speak in a regular voice to our partner and say “I can’t hear you”. We could clearly hear each other though and saying that took no effort. When we moved to having our partner in the other side of the room, as everyone was shouting I had to shout too and so I shouted and made extra effort to articulate my words correctly. I also spoke a bit slower. Then we were moved outside and our partner was quite far from us so to have our partner hear “I can’t hear you” was quite difficult. I noticed I leaned in, spoke even slower, and as was mentioned we also take a massive breath before saying anything because we know we have to put in a lot of effort.

Second exercise had us close our eyes when our partner was speaking (inside the room but the pairs were separated to be facing each other from opposite ends of the room) and try to locate them and find out what they were saying. I was able to catch that Ines was saying “Twinkle twinkle little star” But Ines wasn’t able to catch that I was saying “5 little monkeys jumping on the bed” I tried but Lynn said that it could be that sometimes no matter how well you articulate the words, how loud you speak or how slow you say it, sometimes the other person is just expecting it to be said in another accent, more specifically RP and my accent is not even close to that. So I must practice the RP accent.

Self directed study

On this session I think I wasted my time a bit. I still did some work but I wish I had done a bit more. Sure, I practiced singing Bonnie & Clyde, I practiced my juggling skills. And at the end I convinced Ryan to go work with me on Gary’s script because even though we have finished writing it, we don’t know it from the top of our heads yet.

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