Sunday, December 2, 2007

Theatre workshop progressing

This last Friday marked the 4th theatre workshop meeting between the Conviven volunteers and the kids from Ciudad Oculta, reports our volunteer Nicole.

The kids, ranging in age from about 3 to 15 greeted us with the standard swing-me-around-until-you-remember-you’re-at-least-twice-my-age and huge gapped smiles. For about the first 10 minutes of the workshop, we shared the space with 5 teenage boys practicing some kind of musical routine on an electronic drum set (the space is actually the converted living room of a neighbourhood woman named Maria Rosa and her husband who in addition to allowing our theatre workshop works with Conviven volunteers to organise art, dance, and English workshops.)

Thankfully, after 10-minutes of uninterrupted musical and acrobatic distraction, the kids were ready to participant in our first group activity. We began with a game of pistolera where the children circle around one person and, once chosen, must quickly sit allowing the two people next to them to dual. The last person to react sits out until the next game.

The game gets progressively harder as fewer and fewer kids are left in the circle and it's less clear who is supposed to be duelling. We chose this particular game to begin to get the kids focused on reacting to each others' sound and movement. As we are interacting more regularly with the kids, we've begun to get a better understanding of what they enjoy and a sense of the creative capacities of many of the children.

We’ve begun to brainstorm ways to build on some of the games that have become staples in the hour-long workshop. For example, one of our volunteers Maria introduced us to a game similar to charades where two teams begin on separate sides of a room.

The teams alternate agreeing on some kind of object or person to act out and then approach the other team whose job it is to continue guessing until they've guessed correctly. The acting team must turn around and try to get back to their side of the room before the guessing team tags them forcing them to switch sides.

The highlight of this week's game was when one team decided to act out "cheese." As the workshop develops, children are becoming increasingly creative with the objects of people they choose to act out and the ways they choose to represent the object or person without using words or props.

The kids saw us off with the standard combination of "chau's" and kisses. Several circled back into line to say bye again, this time giving us exaggerated, high-society "chau's" and air kisses.

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