MET 2015 with Playwright Michelle Read – Session 2 – Thursday 29th January

This week we were in the classroom with the desks pushed back, so we didn’t have quite as much space, but this meant that we could play the Chairs Game – one of my favourites – which aims for group complicity. The game leaves one chair empty and asks the group to make sure the seeker can’t find it and sit down. Group members have to switch chairs when the seeker gets close, but try to keep the empty chair as far from the seeker as possible. It was great fun but tough to keep the seeker from sitting down.

We then warmed up physically and vocally which led into the group making small pieces of choreography by animating their names in space. I was impressed by everyone’s willingness to jump in and to ignore feeling self-conscious. The children all seem confident verbally, so I wanted to introduce some physical elements to the sessions, that will feed into the improvisation and devising work we aim to do over the next few weeks.

From the abstract physicality of painting names in space, we moved on to using emotion words and descriptive phrases to create an image that could spark a short improvisation. The children imagined having a bad cold, feeling happy, feeling sad, winning the lottery and then losing the ticket. We froze the responses into a still image and then imagined the image was being animated and heard what the character might say. Afterwards we talked about what winning the lottery and then losing the ticket might feel like, and importantly in theatre, we talked about how the audience understands what’s happening to the character and how much we can show without words.

In feedback the children said they felt they were ready to start working in groups next week to make some scenes.

This Session – Small-scale choreography. Using an image as the start-point for an improvisation. Activating an emotion.

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