sneaking a peek into the forest during a dress-rehearsal
Rachel and "new and improved" Rooster
Since writing in my last entry how strange it seemed to be back in theatre-making mode after having been so focussed on the classroom-based sensory engagement of the kids for the last 3 months, I have to admit the artist team has also been having a lot of fun over these last couple of days being back in our comfort zone of rehearsing, improvising, debating movements, lines and gestures - and generally doing that thing we love doing; "putting on a show!" We were also lucky yesterday to have the Yellowgum class come along to a bit of a "dress-rehearsal" to give us an opportunity to try out some of the new additions to the show and remind ourselves of which existing elements of the sensory theatre experience go down well with the kids. It can be pretty difficult rehearsing and devising such hands-on interactive performance without your target audience giving you direct responses. The other great thing about them coming to see it is they've also ended up being a bit of a "control group" for us in this up-coming week of performances, in that unlike the 5 classes we've spent our residency with, Yellowgum class haven't had any of the pre-show exploratory workshops about the Jub Jub Tree story and characters - in a sense, they were coming to the show "cold" compared to the other classes who now know us and our animal counterparts, the forest setting, and some of the songs and actions etc pretty well. Thankfully, Yellowgum class had a good time - reminding us the raw "product", being specifically designed for audiences with special needs, is already very engaging as a stand-alone experience. But I'm looking forward to comparing how different the show's reception is going to be next week for those kids we've come to know in our residency classes...
Meanwhile, today we got "radical" in our rehearsal and "chopped off" the long wooden staff that formed the base of our Rooster puppet, freeing it up considerably for Rachel to really animate him to life - and importantly, let the puppet get a bit more intimate with (and hopefully less intimidating) for the kids, during the show. It might not sound like much, but actually taking a hack-saw to one of our beloved characters at this stage of things - based on what we've learnt from using it in the classes with the kids - is pretty big for me as Rooster's original maker. (kind of liberating too!)