After taking a week off, everyone was so excited to see each other and get back to ABLE on Friday. Our actors came bursting in ready to work and have some fun! Here’s what we did…
Sean (with some help from DJ Eva) led our dance party this week. We had songs from One Direction, Bruno Mars, and our big showstopper – “Single Ladies” by Beyonce! Everyone enjoyed showing off during freestyle dance time, and we played a game of Follow the Leader moving around in a circle and copying each other’s moves.
Lindsay (fresh off her guest starring role on this week’s episode of Chicago PD – if you missed it, here's the link for Season 3, Episode 3 titled "Actual Physical Violence" on Hulu!) led our warm up. First, for a physical warm up, we made circles with all of our major body parts starting with our toes, up to our ankles, then knees, hips, ribcage, shoulders, arms, and all the way up to our heads and back down again. Then we practiced breathing. We imagined we were inflating a giant balloon and had to blow it up bigger and bigger and bigger until it popped (which we got to make the sound effects for). We finished with a Shake Countdown. This is one of our go-to warm up exercises, but we use it anytime we need to get our energy up. You can try it:
- Shake your right hand and count aloud to 8
- Shake your left hand and count aloud to 8
- Shake your right foot and count aloud to 8
- Shake your left foot and count aloud to 8
Repeat the sequence counting to 7. Then just to 6. Then to 5…and so on until you’re just counting to one.
We reviewed our ensemble rules (Listen, Focus, Keep Hands to Yourself, Do Your Best, and Have Fun!) and remembered what we worked on before the break. Then we went over the goal for the day’s class: to learn the verses of our big group song and to start choreography! That’s an ambitious goal so we got right into work.
You might remember this team building game from Week One of classes. This time around we had two big differences. First, we played with our entire ensemble (all 20 actors and 10 teaching artists/facilitators!). Second, we added an extra element – now the pointer could call out Elephant OR Alligator. For Alligator, instead of making a trunk, the person who gets pointed to would have to make the snapping alligator jaws, and, instead of making big circles for ears, the people on either side would make tiny circles to become the alligator’s eyes. This required extra listening and focus from all of us!
Writing Groups - Storyboards
During our week break, teaching artists Kendra, Peter, Lawrence, and Katie created posterboards outlining what we’ve written so far. We took 5 minutes to confer with our groups, and then presented the storyboards to each other. Each group acted out a tableau or a key scene. The BanApples shared the start of their scene, which has Quincy acting as a dance teacher for the other characters. The Blackberries made tableaus for each of their key locations (including an AWESOME airplane). The Strawberries showed off all of their characters and a key pose or line. And The Oranges did tableaus for each of their locations (and also made a cool ambulance together). It was so fun to see what everyone has been working on and to cheer each other on.
Music & Choreography
From there we split into Lemons and Limes to work on our big group number. Each group spent 25 minutes working on either Music (Peter took us through the verses for “Don’t You Forget About Me” and “Firework”) or Choreography (Kendra taught us the choreography for the choruses and the “La La Las…” in “Don’t You Forget About Me”) and then we switched, so by the end of class, both groups had worked through the whole song!
Lemon & Lime Sing Off
We brought everyone back together in the large dance studio and practiced singing the choruses of both songs with the new choreography we learned. As a group, we’re working on singing in UNISON and also SHARING FOCUS. It’s so hard to stay still and quiet when you’re just bursting to sing, but we’re practicing blending our voices rather than shouting over each other and staying quiet and still when the other group sings.
We circled up and went over the plan for next week’s class. We also said Happy Birthday to our facilitator Sean (10/19) and he led us in our call and response Closing
“I take from the heavens all that I need
and I bring it in to me.
And I take from the Earth all that I need
And I bring it into me.
And when I have it inside me,
I give it away!"