- Connect with audience
- Always say yes
- Stay in clown
- Clown cycle - yes mode - risk - failure - vulnerability - yes mode
|The Black Box||
The art of Clowning by Eli Simon
This is a good book to introduce students to some of the key principles of clowning. Gives a basic over - very simple terms. Could be accessed by Secondary students easily. Good outline of activities and theory behind aspects of clowning.
Why is that so funny? I found to be a very good resource. It has a good mix of theoretical ideas with discussions on the various types of laughter. There are series of exercises through out the book that can be used to investigate physical comedy. John Wright talks about the distinction in theatrical circles between drama and comedy and how comedy is often not valued as much. It is true through my teacher training - it was more from a Stanislavski point of view. This is a refreshing look at comedy. Also the "games" exercises that John explains are games that can be used in dramatic scenes but allows for a new way of looking at events. John trained with Lecoq and this has influenced his way of working. He gives a strong outline for his version of the States of Tension and I enjoyed the sections looking at Clowning - Parody, Satire, Pastiche, Caricature, Burlesque and Buffoon. I have already used these exercises with my classes to some success. What really surprised me was how well come of the complicity games worked with my Grade 5 and 6s. It is a good book for any IB student who needs some ideas or theoretical underpinning.
The Laramie Project
I have heard a lot about the Laramie Project. It did live up to what has been said about it. As a play it was a very easy read. It was my first introduction into Verbatim theatre. I like the power of the style and the way that you could put across so many different perspectives. It was also interesting to talk to a friend who is from that region and was at the University at the same time as Matthew Shepard. She had a different perspective to the storytellers. Powerful piece of Theatre which could be used dynamically with an IB Theatre class.
Well .. yes it has been a long time since I posted and I will try to be back on a little more. Just read a great book: The Physical Actor by Annie Loui. It spoke to me through the physical theatre aspect and she introduced me to the concept of Contact Improvisation. It is an areas I am going to investigate a little more. At moment I am teaching 5-8 Drama and 7/8 Dance. I used some of the ideas with some warm ups with my 7/8 Drama class in terms of stretching and using language and movement to vamp up the rehearsals a little more. I did more extensive work with my Dance class - only because I have the flexibility of not running a traditional style dance class. The main chapters are: Warm Up and Alignment; Space; Mime; Partnering; contact Improvisation and Active Imagination- Performance Composition.
Technology and Drama
I have had some amazing electronic Developmental workbook from my students this semester. My Gr 10's and I were trialling using electronic means to document the process and do reflections. The students had a choice of using PAGES; MICROSOFT WORD; KEYNOTE/POWERPOINT or their WIKIS. I have had some amazing results. The ability to embed media such as videos of their rehearsal process and photos has added to the quality. I was unsure but have been really impressed. After I get permission I will see if I can embed some examples.
So I am about to " boldly venture into unknown territory" - the use of Ning to build characters. The idea was brought to my attention by Dr. Jennifer Hartley, when I was in her Theatre versus Oppression workshops ( which were brilliant). She talked about how she used Facebook with her actors to create characters and build connections. It was bringing the tools of our students use in their everyday life to the classroom or in Jennifer's case to the actors studio. I thought it would be a great idea. Facebook is something I am a bit weary of in regards to students. I wanted something I could control and monitor.
I used the Facebook idea with my Grade 8 Drama class in building a character. They are all familiar with FB and its structure. I showed them an examplar and then asked them to create a "fake" facebook page either in their books or on a pages/word document on their computer. It was a great exercise. They ran with it and the results where fun and good at building their ideas about their character.
So I want I wanted to build on that with the Musical I am doing - BUGSY MALONE. I have set up a ning and will get the students to join as their characters. There is an opportunity to build a profile, add pictures and have conversations with other characters. We will see how it goes. If you would like to see how it is going click on this link http://crankinblackbox.ning.com/
Arts education and Creativity
Arts education provides a platform to develop and apply creativity. The
importance of creativity and creative thinking in education cannot be denied.
David Skorton (2009:para 2) states that the arts are “disciplines [which] nurture our
creative instincts”. Creativity requires divergent and convergent thinking. (Bronson
& Merryman: 2010: Para 2; Sternberg: 2006:87) These are the basic processes of the
creation of arts. Through creative activities, students transform ideas and combine
them to create new pieces of artistic work. An example from this International
School is in Grade Four, where small groups of students take a poem and transform
it into a piece of instrumental music that demonstrates mood.
Researchers (Craft: 2002 and Elliot: 1971 cited in Craft: 2003:118; Robinson: 2009:
57) view imagination and creativity as separate concepts. Robinson (Ibid) believes
imagination is an internal process and that underpins every unique human
achievement. It is this internal process which allows us to create. When observing
a Kindergarten class in ‘free play’ in kitchen space at school, the children exhibited
both imaginative and creative play. This relates to Egan’s theory, that we can only
construct worlds we already know. (quoted in Bergmann: 1998: 270) This is also
demonstrated in the role playing of children in Drama with Grade Five students
created an entire ‘news’ show based on their learning about weather and
the body system. There was a funny weather segment, an interview, a
nutrition specialist, commercial with healthy snacks that the students had
created. They role played the different parts.
(M. Ostiguy: Interview: 2010)
Why study the Arts
This is part of a paper I have written:
“The arts are not mere diversions from the important business of education; they are essential resources.” (Eisner quoted in PYP: 2007:128). The Arts provide the skill base and are an integral resource, which allows students to developing both imagination and creativity. Arts education provides a platform to develop these skills, which are a key component of 21st century development. (Pink: 2005; Robinson: 2009) Imagination and creativity within the arts are interlinked with the artistic process. This artistic process provides students with an opportunity to explore, transform and utilise higher order thinking skills. This discussion paper will examine the literature and the importance of the arts for young children within the context of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program in an international school.
Numerous scholars perceive the arts to be beneficial in developing young children’s’ creativity and imagination. With the revision of Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson and Krathwohl: 2001), creation now features as the highest order thinking skill. The ability to create a new product or point of view is an inherent aspect of the arts. The theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner & Hatch: 1989) also impacts creativity in the arts in terms of its cultural manifestation. Studies (Burton, Horowitz & Abeles: 1999: 91; Kennedy: 2006: Para 2; Saubern: 2009: 12 & 13; Smith: 2009: Para 2; Smithrim & Upitis: 2005:120) indicate that students immersed in the arts achieved highly in terms of creativity, imagination and originality.
What do I teach at BISS?
I don’t teach English—yet literature is at the heart of my discipline.
I don’t teach History—although I encourage students to investigate the
social and historical implications of events and how they affect those with
whom we live.
I don’t teach Science—but introduce the analysis of human behavior,
society, and the natural world.
I don’t teach Math—yet evaluating structure, space, and change is a skill
constantly being developed.
I don’t teach the Visual Arts—although calling on the elements of form,
line, shape, color, texture, space, and value is commonplace.
I don’t teach a Foreign Language—but my students learn to decode and
encode dialogue in scripts and plays.
I don’t teach Music—yet rely on the elements of pitch, melody, harmony,
rhythm, dynamics, timbre, texture, and articulation to share this craft.
I don’t teach Technology—but foster the use of tools to control and adapt
to the work we do.
I don’t teach Physical Education— although working as part of a team
while making connections between cognitive functions and physical
movement is a major benefit of this process.
What do I teach at BISS?
I teach Drama.
Adapted from a poem by Tim Reagan
Drama/Theatre/Dance teacher for 30 years; Currently teaching at International School Manila.