Adult members of the Tracksuit Performance Group playing in a sensory forest we created for them at a workshop last week.
It's called "a PLAY", stupid...
Thinking about Bec's description of Mr P's "lightness of touch" when facilitating physical ed sessions at the school. Noticing that his use of humour and levity relaxes the EA's as much as the kids. While the EA's are still alert to the individual needs of the kids, they also seem to visibly un-tense - the structured frivolity of the sessions is infectious for the EA's as well in a way that affects the atmosphere of the whole room and seems to make the kids more relaxed and receptive in turn. The artist team was discussing this and I realised that what we'd observed in these phys ed classes (his spanish classes with Melinda's Bellmae kids are also a hoot!) was in contrast to the slightly "precious" artsy approach we'd taken at the beginnings of our performances late last year when "setting the space" for the show as the kids entered through the sensory curtain. That is, I've been wondering if, by being in "performance mode" (poised, hushed, all tinkly hand-bells atmospheric, trying to be "actor-ly reverential") as the audience arrived, were we unintentionally signalling to the EA's/teachers/adults that the show was so special that they reflexively went into "lock-down/trouble-shooting/non-disruptive mode" with the kids and perhaps, in turn, unintentionally inhibited them a little in their responses at the beginning of the show?
We've been realising that when we eventually get to perform the show near the end of the residency we want to signal informality and fun to the kids from the first moments of the sensory theatre experience. Infact, these realisations have made us decide we should let them explore the puppets and sets for at least 15 - 20 mins before the show even begins (previously we let this happen a little at the end of the show).  Also - I'm VERY excited - as a result, we've agreed that I can go out and order 4 square metres of the most luscious long artificial lawn (it feels really "real"!) for the whole show to be performed on! How cool to let the kids feel the grass underfoot in the forest setting of the story - or even let the wheelchair kids lie on the grass and look up at the sensory forest curtain around them - before starting to tell them the story!  How cool to let them PLAY within the environment that the story takes place...
27/6/2011 04:09:57 pm

Hi Francis
Please let me know if the EA's get too relaxed. As you point out Colin has a way of connecting with students and motivating them.


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