Josiah here. I’m giving Mark a break from writing all the blog updates. I’m currently listening to Boxer by the National, a band I somewhat wrote off at first but I’m starting to warm up to. Speaking of warming up, Mark and I just got back from a vigorous run in the 109 degree heat. I’m just getting back to the point where I feel up to physical exertion. A little advice to those of you who may find yourself in a third world country sometime in the near future: if you’re more than a seven hour drive from coastline or some other fish-worthy body of water, steer clear of eating the fish. The combination of incredible heat and food poisoning is not exactly pleasant.
The students' first taste of fight choreography... and the hand of the master
As I think back on the strides we made in class in the past few days I am very pleased. The students have gotten to a point where they are writing and performing their own works. It didn’t exactly come easily. The first couple of days Mark had the students working on short plays; they made real progress, coming up with some excellent stories. On Wednesday we got them up on their feet and started improv-ing through them and on Thursday we saw a story that really got me excited. It was about this kingdom of fools where everything is opposite. It was truly a complicated and interesting story. I was blown away. But to my dismay after the story was finished one of the other students revealed to me that this was a story that the children had read in class a couple of years earlier. It was one in a slew of several roadblocks we’ve hit along the road that ends in a final performance.
The notorious family of thieves
Finally on Friday we meet with the intention of getting some real original work written. We divided the class into two groups with an assignment to come up with CROW and conflict for a story. For those who are not familiar with the CROW system I’ll explain. CROW is an acronym that stands for Character, Relationship, Objective, and Where. CROW is essentially the anatomy of the story. Then we have the students come up with a conflict or an obstacle that gets in the way of what the characters want to achieve. They come up with some really good stories: one about a family of thieves and the other about a school bully. We only had time to improv through the thieves story, but it went smashingly. We will get to the next story on Monday and also write some new ones. All and all it was a very productive week.
I hope this update finds everyone happy and healthy.