Monday, June 01, 2009

Finally: Shadow Dancing!

*I was finally able to load some of the shadow dance...be sure to check it out at the end of this post.

This is Henry from 6D: last weekend he was not Henry, he was "The Great, the Wise, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." He started out pretty quiet in that role, but by closing night he had transformed into the Wizard - very Wonderful and Powerful and everything.

So today in Ancient we are about to read the very last paragraph of the text (that's right, we made it through six civilizations by the last week of the year...) and I say to the kids, "I want someone to read this with a really big voice. It's the last paragraph of our book. Who wants to try?"

About seven kids volunteer, so I have them read the first sentence as a try out - something about the "Fall of Rome." After five kids read rather flatly (and I say "no, no, no!") I say to Henry, "Henry, read this in the voice of The Wizard!"

And without any hesitation, he begins reading about the Fall of Rome, accessing the same voice he had on closing night. The class goes wild. At the last sentence, he stands up and uses hand gestures. Next, in his Wizardly Frenzy, he throws his Ancient World textbook on the floor and stomps on it amid the cheering of his peers.Now I know that books are sacred and everything, but the whole scene is funny, so I just say to him, "WIZARD! What would Scarecrow say? (or WWSS?)" And he actually gets a really funny, guilty look on his face.

Henry was also responsible for the best blooper of the night... for weeks, when he was supposed to say "University of Omaha" - he just couldn't get it right. He kept saying "University of Obama" - Obama being a much more familiar word to him. Both opening night and the next he said it correctly, but not without a little hesitation. Saturday night, though, he said "University of...of...Obama." The crowd loved it and he has heard about it all day from the kids. He was Tarn's favorite character.


Another: we had to fire Toto a week before the performance because he wasn't taking rehearsals seriously. On dress rehearsal Saturday he didn't show up at all. Ryan from my 6E class happened to be there just to hang out with his friends. A natural actor, I asked him if he would like to be Toto. "Let me think about it for five minutes," he said. Five minutes later, he was on stage. He mastered the tongue sticking out and panting and following Dorothy around very quickly, but the former Toto is the smallest kid in school. So Alice cut the dog body in half and Ryan just wore the bottoms and the head. What happened, then, was that every time he turned around, the audience would laugh at his pants that hardly fit and at his black and white checkered boxers. At one point on Saturday night, he lost his dog pants completely. Paula, who also helped with the play and who also has Ryan in class, and I were laughing ourselves silly over Ryan's every movement during every performance.

What I didn't mention in my other comments on the play: opening night was a sort of disaster. The main problem was the audience...TERRIBLE. I didn't know that Vietnamese audiences have such a bad reputation. They talked through the whole thing. They didn't clap at the right places until Fran and I led them to clap at the right places. The sound technicians missed many of their cues. The lights were off. The kids were great, but off. Everyone went home kind of mopey. Alice said she felt like she had given birth and had a miscarriage.

Friday night, though, was amazing, as was Saturday. The crowd was older and smarter. The kids were ON. Alice had a very healthy baby. In this picture with Alice is Gink: Gink is just one of Alice's healthy babies. Gink played the piano and did an amazing job. What a talent. OK, SeattlePam, there are your pictures...finally! (The extremely good ones were taken by Tarn, of course!)

(Mungo and Karyn, you must provide an acting blooper story...)

As for the shadow dancing, remember that it was juxtaposed against the colorful front world of Dorothy and the Munchkins and it showed the world of the King of Darkness and his slaves (slaves are equivalent to the monkeys in the movie)~ All of the choreography for the shadow was done by Alice, but Alice had one of her hip hop dancers, Adrian, choreograph the munchkins' dances. I will include one of my favorite parts.



video video video video video video

12 comments:

Carol said...

The shadow dances are amazing. I especially liked the one with the knives -- but all were great. You can tell A LOT of work went into each of them. Perhaps you said, but I don't recall, are these high school kids or middle school?

Cecilie said...

I love the shadow dances! And I agree with Carol, the one with the knives was the very best of a bunch of excellent dances. Your kids must be the best ever! :-)

SeattlePam said...

WOW! That is absolutely incredible. And granted I am mushy and it's been a while since I've watched the Olympics, but these brought tears to my eyes. They are so beautiful! Alice should be so proud. I can't imagine any of my schools ever doing something this cool. Congrats to you all!! And, is it inappropriate to have a crush on Toto?

marjie said...

Mom- the dancers are high school. And Pam, you can't help but have a crush on Toto, huh? He is as sweet as he looks.

Angie said...

Wow, Marjie, Those dances are amazing. Nolan loved the one when the King of Darkness gave his evil laugh.
Tell Alice congratulations! She did an amazing job.
I'm sure there are text books I've wanted to stomp on, too. Go Henry!

Megan said...

All those videos of the play are so cool! The shadow dances were really neat! It must have looked so cool live on stage, I wish that I could have gone and seen it in person!
Go Henry go! That is exactly what I wanted to do with my Latin books last year, but unfortunately, mom said no. =(
Bravo to all!

Mungo said...

I haven't watched the videos yet, I'll do that shortly... But, I wanted to share my most recent "blooper..."

It was during a preview night of "Doubt." I play the priest, Father Flynn, accused of improper behavior with an altar boy. The first time the head nun, Sister Aloysius, calls me into her office to confront me, I tell her off, and am about to leave, when she says, "there was alcohol on his breath," which stops me dead in my tracks before I exit. This night, I say my line, and begin to exit... then, I continue to exit... and I exit all the way offstage! She never delivered the line! I'm pacing backstage, "what do I do? what do I do?" Meanwhile, the nuns are onstage, completely silent. Finally, I wander back onstage and say, "I must admit, that there was alcohol on the boy's breath..." or something to that effect... It was quite frightening.

Okay, now I'll watch the videos...

Mungo said...

WOW - awesome shadow dances! Very impressive!

marjie said...

Mungo, you got it right when I saw it and that is all that matters. Did the nuns chastise you for your mistake?

Mungo said...

No, because it wasn't MY mistake... In my character, I made my point, and left... It was up to HER to stop me! So, I chastised her.

Actually, no chastisement was had. Just kept us on our toes for the entire run...

marjie said...

Mungo, I cannot believe I assumed it was YOUR mistake. I have known you for...how many years now? And I have never known you to make a mistake. So. I think I was overcome with the idea of a nun's chastisement and got carried away.
Sorry.

Mungo said...

You may now bow and kiss my ring.