We used the good ol' game of Machines as a jumping off for this week's Creative Arts Playgroup. Since we've done tableaux, I wanted to explore activating tableaux with them. We warmed-up by playing Machines. Machines is a game where one person will start a sound and movement they can repeat. Other people will connect to that person, repeating their own sound and movement. The group builds a "machine." I then started reading the book, interrupting moments to build various "machines" including a machine in which we start as Max's bed (see above) and morph into a tree in the "world all around him" (see below). They also created sounds to go along with their movements. With the bed above, we began with an "Ah" and a snore, transitioned with a mechanical sound, and ended with the sound of "wind blowing through and crinkling" the leaves in our branches. These exercises were great for practicing improvisational skills, physicalizing objects, and creating soundscapes. These kids really stretched their abstract thinking skills today!
You can't go wrong with print-making, and this is proof. This week, the Creative Arts Playgroup read the Sendak classic Where the Wild Things Are. We then etched out our own monsters on pieces of styrofoam take-out containers. We then pressed our monsters on ink pads and stamped them on paper. I had already cut out some additional accents such as the forest motif in the book, grass, ocean waves, scales and the words "Wild Things". After they printed their own monsters, they played around with the other stamps. I then cut out their prints while they played, and then they arranged them how they wanted them on cardstock. I got this idea from:
It was a lot a fun!
The Creative Arts Playgroup worked with Mo Willems' Leonardo & the Terrible Monster for the past two weeks. We made Rorschach Monsters the first week. Well, they began as Rorschach monsters. I had them fold their papers and paint on one side, and then they pressed that side onto the other side to create a mirror image. We all felt like they needed something more, though, so we added tissue paper, feathers, colored balls, pipe cleaner legs and a holding rod. So...what began as Rorschach monsters morphed into rod puppet monsters? The following week we explored theatre arts by creating characters for the rod puppet monsters we created the previous week. We explored different voices and walks for them. Watch out--below, you see one of our monsters sneaking toward you!
About the Author: April Gentry-Sutterfield is a director, deviser, educator, and mom who uses theatre as a tool for social justice, education, and community engagement.