Monday, July 19, 2010

Shadow Circus at Wheelock Family Theatre

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This summer I had a week-long gig co-teaching a puppetry class at Wheelock Family Theatre. It was my first time teaching puppetry. For two hours and forty-five minutes a day over the course of five days, my co-teacher, two assistants, and I, met with a group of roughly two-dozen nine-to-eleven year olds. Our objective was to teach them both puppet making and puppet performance. For me one imperative was that the kids came away introduced to at least three styles of puppetry and the associated techniques-- the other was that they created the work themselves.

On day one, we introduced them to the construction of rod puppets, and gave them the homework assignment to bring in a found object that would be modified into puppet. On the third day, I introduced them to shadow puppets using an overhead projector (a style of shadow puppetry covered extensively in Theatre on a Tabletop: Puppetry for Small Places by Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin of Chinese Theatre Works)

(All photos by yours truly while I was operating the overhead projector.)

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The kids were split into teams of three and sent to create circus-themed acts, which proved to be some of the most well-received aspects of the show they gave on Friday.
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And now, a human tower on a unicycle!
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Don't worry, folks: we have a net!
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A tight-rope, a unicycle, and an elephant!
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And now, ladies and gentlemen! The fire-breather!
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Can the most fearsome of beasts jump through a hoop of the most fearsome of elements?

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