In today’s Applied Performance session, myself and the rest of my research group ran a series of workshop activities that related to our assigned reading “Drama for Conflict: Transformational toolkit “. The activities that we wanted the class to participate in where:
- Dragons Den – Splitting the class into three groups, we wanted them to create a machine/device that would benefit the human race, help the world in some way. We then wanted the groups to work as an ensemble to create a physical representation of their product, to then perform in front of the Dragon Den panel (us).
- Tableaux exercise – We wanted the class to create still images to represent social stereotypes – To get the class thinking on the right path, we gave them an example of the 2011 London Riots, directing the theme on authority and youth culture.
Asking the group for volunteers, we started creating poses to reflect those ideologies; we then invited the rest of the group to build upon the tableaux or change the pose to create a new perspective. To get the group not only embodying a pose but to start thinking about the emotive response, we evolved the activity by using the “Shoulder tap” where you can add a line of dialogue to your physicality.
The activities we explored within our research group were to give the rest of the class an understanding on what the ‘Drama for Conflict: Transformation Toolkit’ was about. The toolkit’s manual gives examples on games and activities in which a facilitator could use when introducing conflict to youth and adults. What my resource group took from the reading was how to utilise the activities we chose to form an understanding of what Youth Theater for Peace intend to promote and make awareness of.
The next part of the session was led by Dr. Ananda Breed, who began to deliver a Commedia dell’arte workshop. Commedia dell’arte workshop derives from an Italian art group during the 1600’s, that explored creating performances through improvisation (sketches and scenarios). The workshops that were being created focused on reflecting the political and economic issues that occurred around the 1600’s, using the element of fun to discuss those specific issues.
With the whole class forming a circle, Dr. Ananda Breed started to explain the characters that are available with the Commedia. Walking around the black box theatre space, we had to start physically exploring each character, envisioning how the person walks, talks and how they would even would interact with others.
Picking people at random we were able to present our character expressions in front of the whole class, to develop this exercise further we began to work in small groups to incorporate these characters within a story presented by Dr. Ananda Breed. The story was an old folk tale which we had to create five still images, using the characters in which we explore and developed through the Commedia dell’arte workshop.
My group created five traditional images that represented the tradition characters within a story tale, such as: the joker, the protagonist and antagonist. One of the images that we created represented a queen being subjected to bullying for looking the way in she does, one person standing in the middle and the rest of the group standing in a circle around her representing mirrors. Developing the exercisers even further we began to incorporate sounds that be verbal/ non-verbal (atmosphere) for example, the still image that represented the hero saving the queen, instead of speaking we used our voice to sound out a heartbeat.
The finale part of the lesson was focused around the ‘Stop and…’ project that was to launch on the 10th November 2016. Myself, Abbie joined Robab to help create her prototype, as the person Abbie had interviewed did not want anyone knowing her information. When Robab discussed her project, we all came to an agreement that the game ‘Jenga’ would be an idea format to develop of as the stimulus behind it was about self-confidence and self-reassurance.
Here is a first draft of what our prototype would look like
- Participant walks in, a recorder and headphones would be handed over
- Whilst listening to the story that Robab recorded, the participant will begin to play the game Jenga
- When removing the Jenga blocks, the participant will find words that have been wrote on the bricks, referencing the womans struggle with education and living in a patriarchal society.
As a group, we want to involve spoken word into the recording, so that the participant can have a reflection space to absorb the issues that were raised within the story. Also, as issues of labor were brought up within the interview we felt like having a time limit on the game so that we can create an atmosphere of determination.
Therefore, if the participant doesn’t finish the task there is a sense of deflation, we hope that this reflects the constant obstacle that the lady who was interviewed, would have faced.