My Objectives for this session were:
To bring the puppets and mask characters to life
To have some time to play
To build connections between them and explore some improvised story-making / drama with them
To celebrate our time together and bring it to closure
I started by mentioning that it was my last day and that we were therefore going to have a special session where we use all we made and enjoy playing with them and watching each other’s work. Before starting this I showed them the DLR Primary website and used the images there to recap on all we had done and celebrate that a little.
I then showed the “puppet television” I had made: I switched on the overhead projector which I had covered with a piece of paper leaving just one square of light visible. This was to introduce the idea of the puppets appearing without the boy’s shadows on their own first, so we could explore that. One of my puppets then appeared there and introduced the idea of different programmes. We encouraged the watching boys to use imaginary remote controls to change the channel, as the boys took turns to come up and use their puppets on the “TV”.
After this they took turns wearing the masks (or operating them if they chose not to wear them – not everyone liked this). Sometimes we used them with the puppets or to interact with my puppets or mask. We also were able to use their set pieces again, as the room was darker due to the rainy weather and a new orientation of the screen away from the sky lights. We discovered they were still beautiful despite the images changing as the plants we had created them with began the process of decay.
I also introduced a blue coloured cel half covering the screen at one stage in response to an idea from one of the boys that he liked to walk his puppet dog by the sea, so that the puppets could go swimming in it. Near the end of the session I put up the party scene I had drawn and encouraged the puppets to have a party, eating popcorn, cupcakes and drinking from straws. We also put on some music so the puppets could respond to that. As the session progressed the boys and puppets began to interact more informally and spontaneously. There was some lovely dancing and a lot of explorative play.
A boy was very interested in the chairs in the room, so we ended up working with them instead, looking at their shadows and even making them dance! One of his Special Needs Assistants came back into the room afterwards to tell me that as they left, he had said “I’m going to miss her”.
When we were finished they took home all they had made. On my way out I photographed a display of photos my collaborator in the school, Niamh Denham, had put up in the corridor.
Resources, set up etc
Cameras, tripod etc
Laptop for music
Puppet TV frame attached to projector for easy application and removal when needed
Puppet party set drawing on clear cel for projector
A2 idea brainstorm sheets from last week, thick marker
All puppets, sets and props made so far and shelves to spread them out on
Puppets for me to use (one on either side of the screen) and my giant mask
Stands, sheet etc for screen
Seats for audience opposite this
Black out room as much as possible, try hanging screen away from skylights
Coloured sheets of cel, clear sheets and markers