The last day of a residency is always the craziest. Particularly when doing an after-school program at the end of the school year! The students were full of mixed emotions on our last day: spring fever, excitement for our performance, and sadness since today was the last of our five-session residency. I shared the meaning of the terms “rehearsal” and “performance” and explained that though we would be rehearsing and performing that day, ours was an “informance” (an informal performance) that would show the parents in attendance our warm-ups, our process, and our final product: performances of two different versions of the Thumbelina story.
Today was our only day to rehearse our story after brainstorming it the class prior. Thus, I explained to the students that it was OK to make mistakes, and for me to give directions during the performance since we were still in process. I rehearsed with the two groups (the younger students and older students) who both created a unique version of Thumbelina. I narrated the younger students’ story about a sick fairy king healed by Thumbelina’s beautiful singing voice which only he could hear. And the older students narrated their own story which involved a world in the clouds, a fairy world underground, and a jealous servant who wanted to take Thumbelina’s place as princess.
This culminating event took everything the students learned over our five sessions together such as the structure of a story, various theatre terms, and working together as an ensemble, pulling it all together into an “informance” that many parents were in attendance to enjoy. It was a great success, even if the time leading up to it was a little hectic! A highlight was when one student who had not been as participatory during the bulk of the residency recited an entire call and response warm-up by himself that the rest of the students repeated back to him. Even with our many road bumps and crazy days, we learned a great deal by working together as a team, by becoming an ensemble.
-Teaching Artist and Story Tapestries Administrative Manager, Allison Bucca