Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Synergy Arts Camp: Synergy Magic!

I'm especially excited about this week.  I've loved magic tricks since I was a kid.  I remember Dad getting me a magic kit for my ninth birthday, I perfected each and every one of them in that kit.  I couldn't get enough.  There was a novelty & joke store in the local mall I used to get a bunch of pocket tricks from and carry them around to practice.  I even made up stage names and costumes from Dad's suit jackets and hat collection, performed little shows in the living room every Sunday.  I had so much fun!

I'm excited to pass on the same fun I had to the camp kids this week - three older girls with a passion for dance and fantastic attitudes all around - a perfect way to end the summer!

I had put together a basic Magician's Glossary and a few simple tricks for the kids to perform, each needing props and plenty of practice: the   I had also thrown in a 'bonus trick' from my early years of pocket tricks, and something that they could do at home.

I can't believe I'm doing this - some of you stage magicians might be a little upset with me, but consider it for the love of art and passing on the craft, so to speak.  Take a look at these fantastic and simple tricks - and how you can do them yourself!

Magic Trick Manual

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Synergy Arts Camp: Pirate Adventure!

Everyone loves pirates.  Who doesn't love a good swashbuckling adventure?  We couldn't resist ourselves when it came to our love of the original rebels and decided to school our campers this week with a little bit of the seafarin' life!

The kids made their own pirate hats, eyepatches and swords as part of their costumes, and we've been working on a bit of pirate speak, courtesy of International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Alessandra will have the kids decorate their very own treasure chests to participate in a scavenger hunt!  We're looking forward to that on Friday.  In the meantime, have a read of our Pirate Adventure!

Pirates are celebrating and feasting on fruits and veggies to make sure they don’t get scurvy on their sea journey – they’ve found a treasure map in a bottle!  The map leads to a mysterious island in the middle of the ocean and the legend of the buried treasure of Captain Bluenose!  They’ll have to be brave pirates to battle a sea monster and overcome a terrible storm – and finally find the mysterious island!  They follow the map and dig at the ‘X’, where they find a chest full of pieces of eight, doubloons, precious gems and pearls – and they wondrous treasure of the Magical Invisible Ever-Changing Whirly-Burly Ball – changing into any round object the holder desires!  With their bountiful booty, they sail back home to the Caribbean, where they become the most famous pirates of all for revealing the legend of Captain Bluenose!

Scene:  The pirates are feasting on their favourite fruits and vegetables as they prepare to take a sea journey.  They sing heartily and dance a jig and practice their ‘sword fighting’ until the pirate Captain Sassypants enters with her parrot, Peggy.   The pirates all cheer when the captain holds up a bottle with a message inside.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Synergy Arts Camp: King of the Jungle Script!

After learning about our animal characters and starting on our puppets, we've got our story line all mapped out - now it's just up to me to put it into a script!  And here it is - enjoy!

Welcome to our jungle adventure, where we’re on the search for the elusive and rare pink dragonfly!   I’ve been studying about this rare insect for years, and I’ve come to this very jungle – the only jungle where it lives in the world! – to snap a photograph.  When I’m all done, I’ll just get back in my boat and float up the river to the local village, safely back to civilization.  I even have this map with me to help remember the way!  (Pulls out a thick folded piece of paper.)  I’m very glad you’re all here – maybe we can find some other animals on our adventures! 

Like that parrot!  Oh my!

(PARROT puppet flies onto the stage.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Synergy Arts Camp: King of the Jungle!

This week we're gonna have some fun in the jungle - puppet style!

Puppets are a great way for shy kids to express themselves if they've got terrible stage fright.  It's also a great acting exercise to have a sense of bodily presence outside of yourself, and also learning how to focus on different elements of performance other than physical stage presence.  That, and puppets are just so darn fun.

Welcome to Synergy Arts Camp King of the Jungle Week! 

We’ll be exploring our ‘inner animals’ and learning how to ‘move’ and ‘act’ like our favourite exotic animals in the jungle – lions, monkeys and lizards, oh my!  This week, we’ll play theatre games that will focus on how we can move different parts of our body to ‘become’ these animals, give them personalities and help solve a crisis!

Our explorer is lost in the jungle after being chased by a ferocious tiger and other sneaky fiends, but with the help of a few animal friends – and the protection of the ‘king of the jungle’ himself, Brave Lion! – our explorer finds the boat on the river that leads back to a local village. 

Each animal in the jungle has a unique ability to help our explorer reach her boat and return to civilization.  Animals can do many things that our explorer cannot do, as well – breath underwater, fly in the sky and many more!  What can our animal friends do to help the explorer find the river – and how can they protect her from the predators of the wild? 

Get ready to release your inner animal – the fun’s about to begin! 

Our first day focused on theatre games that helped the kids become uninhibited with their body movements, forming them into animal shapes, taking turns walking and behaving like the animals above after we completed a writing exercise describing them.  Consider how differently you would move when you're a hovering dragonfly, or a slithering snake, or a limber monkey!

The kids will start making their puppets during the art portion today.  Because we've got a number of younger kids this week, we're sticking to the regular 'popsicle stick' puppets.  The older one will be making their puppets out of paper bags.  The lesson plans were inspired by something I found on childdrama.com, with more puppet projects I hope to use with future students, such as the Japanese Doll Theatre or shadow puppets.  Puppetry work is a great tool to have in an actor's kit.

After the kids get a sense of 'character' with their assigned animals, we'll go through a scenario to decide whether they'll help or hinder a lost explorer in their jungle.  That's tomorrow!
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