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We are a group of friends/parents that run a not-for-profit cultural association in Spain.
This is our (bilingual!) blog about our theatre workshops for kids...

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2011

Getting going on the staging...

When we're just getting going on a new project, we spend a while looking around, getting inspired. For our production of "Where the Wild Things Are" we broke the story up into scenes:
  • Max's bedroom
  • the forest
  • the ocean
  • the island
  • the journey home
We knew we wanted to represent these scenes in as vibrant and visual way as possible. But we also knew we wanted to do it without any traditional scenery, using the kids (and props) to do the job instead.

As everything takes place in Max's room, we decided to use the bed as the one central element and have everything else pulled on and off stage, out of boxes, whipped out from behind the curtains by the kids as needed. So, things had to be portable, easy to take out and put away. (As an example, the blue blanket on the bed became a large, circular sea when pulled of in the sea scene).
To get inspired, we looked at a lot of photos - photos of everything and anything (not just of trees!), as you never really know what's going to spark off the idea.

For the Forest Scene, for example, we looked at Maurice Sendak's illustrations:

and photos of real life forests:

And these definitely gave us the feel of what we were after: muted greens, hanging foliage... We experimented with long lianas, made out of trussed up binbags, held up by the kids but there wasn't enough feeling of 'density' about the forest, so we kept looking.

Strangely enough, it was this photo, of a piece of performance art, that triggered the final idea:

We took long stripes of lining material in different shades of green and sewed off cuts of material in muted greens and browns to the underside. When the kids pulled them across the stage and then held them up, Max's bedroom was suddenly transformed into a gloomy forest.

SkipImage by Lisa Saeboe via FlickrThe younger members of the group,the 3, 4 and 5 year olds, weaved in an out of the 'trees', adding a dash of magic.

Got any staging ideas for representing a forest? We'd love to hear them!

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