This session, A.B.L.E. has three different ensembles - 2 for teens (ages 15-21) and one for adults (ages 22+). Each ensemble is led by a pair of teaching artists, and supported by a team of volunteer facilitators. These groups will work together to devise two original shows. Each week, we share updates from the rehearsal room. Click here to read past installments, and read on to learn about week 2 of rehearsals!
During Week 2, our ensembles dove into their shows. Of course, we always have time for dance party, a good warm up, and some favorite ensemble games, but this week, we spent most of our time creating content for our performances. Over time, we can put these pieces together to make our shows!
Our Monday and Friday ensembles are devising a show around the theme of Assumptions. This week, that meant exploring how we see ourselves, and how others see us. This included a great check in where each person introduced themselves with one word to describe them, and then introduced the person seated next to them with one word. Our actors gave each other some lovely compliments! IN addition to games like group mirroring and “This is not a chair”, We spent the majority of class time on a special project. If you’ve followed A.B.L.E.’s rehearsal process before, you know we use A LOT of visual aids. When working on a classical play, we have posterboards for each of the major characters with their key personality traits and relationships. But since we’re devising a show, WE are the characters! Each actor spent time creating their own character board using words and images to share more about them. We put on some gentle music and spread out on the floor with a bunch of magazines to cut out words and pictures. Everyone got super invested in this craft! It was hard to put them down!
This week, our adult ensembles started thinking about the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of our devised show. For this piece we are using 5 distinct objects – a staff, a chalice, a vial, a dagger, and a bouquet of flowers – as stimulus. We positioned each object around the room and then broke into 5 small groups. The groups had 2 minutes to answer one question about one of the objects:
Who does it belong to?
What can it do?
Where did it come from?
When was it made?
Why is it special?
When time was up, we moved on to the next object to answer a different question. Each group got to answer a different question about each object, so a little bit of everyone’s imagination will be part of every scene. Once we’d answered all the questions, we had a blast improvising scenes showing part of the object’s story. We learned the staff comes from Ancient Egypt and belongs to a brutal villain named Killer Stone. The chalice can heal the sick. The vial contains a complicated poison, that could kill you or turn you into a prince depending on how you drink it. The dagger was stolen from Queen Penelope by a bunch of sneaky sneaks. And the flowers are made of gold and were found in a Spanish chapel. Over the next few weeks, we’ll keep playing with these stories and figure out how to weave them together along with some of Shakespeare’s ideas…
We’ll continue brainstorming material for our original shows, writing monologues and scenes, and also start working on group movement pieces. 8 weeks sounds like a lot of time, but it will surely fly by so stay tuned to follow our progress!