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Insect Blog – Post-workshop, day 9

August 21st, 2015

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Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

After an hour of workshopping today we came out with a great song, which is what we wanted but it was a tricky session overall.

It started well, with some real live insects in the room (some grasshoppers in a clear plastic box that really grabbed the kid’s interest) and some physicalising of crickets, learning more about them through Vivek’s commentary of their behaviour and then turning them into humans.

We moved into the musical element of the session with some playing of percussion instruments to accompany the cricket’s activity.  So far, so good.

But when we moved into starting to write lyrics we hit a bit of a wall and the session seemed to peter out.  We begun with what we felt was an accessible exercise about where the crickets were, what they did and how they might feel amongst their environment but shyness seemed to take over and it was left to the parents to chip in most of the ideas.

One factor may have been that our participants were very young overall and perhaps this way of working was too complex for them.  Therein lies the challenge for these sessions and one that I’m always grappling with – there is no way of predicting the number or age of the participants from day to day.  So when it comes to planning you have to make an educated guess as to what will appeal to a variety of age groups and then, in the moment, try to change it if it isn’t working.  This is something that isn’t always possible, or at least you don’t feel it’s possible as your brain whirs away trying to think of an alternative. 

So as well as generating material to make a show and connecting with lots of children and their families from within the community, (I hope) these workshops are making me a better facilitator.

Next week is quite an important week as on Wednesday we’re rehearsing with the actors for most of that day, putting together the core of what will be shared at the work-in-progress showing the following week.  The shape of that is coming together, it’s just a matter of taking all the fragments we’ve made and joining the dots between them.  At least, that’s the plan.

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