The outline of work we did in class is a walk thought of how a stimulus can be used to explore themes and touches on the areas of the PPP report or commentary. These ideas can also be used as a starting point for an IP, option A, where students are devising.
A) Starting from a theme (link to history and culture)
Recently I have been working with a class of 24 students on using a poem as a stimulus for work in Mozambique. Some of the ideas we used may help students and teachers in the creation of original theatre and finding a concept.
B) Introducing devices (philosophical rationale)
We started off looking at Mozambique and the main historical events that brought the country to where it is now. Playing around with the themes of PROPERTY, BOUNDARIES, STRUGGLE, FREEDOM, PEACE and CHALLENGE we explored these themes with image theatre and staging in different spaces. Students then created dynamisms (Boal) to explore characters’ thought tracking, motives etc. This stage helped with exploring production concepts.
c) Staging the poem (visuals for part 2)
Having explored some of the themes and issues that would be in the stimulus we then read the poem by ‘A String of Bullets’ by Mozambican writer Jose Craveirinha:
A Spring of Bullets
I take hold of
My last humiliation
And without leaving my land
I emigrate to the North of Mozambique
With a spring of bullets on my shoulder.
In the North I dine on roots
I drink the remains of rain where animals drink
During the rest-hour, instead of my spring of bullets
I take the handle of my spring of maize
And clear a plot, or if necessary
I crawl on my elbows
And on my knees
Hidden in position in the middle of the bush
With my spring of bullets aimed
I make the reddest flowering flowers
Sprout on the dress-jacket of the Captain,
The hard price of our beautiful
d) Looking for more inspiration (cultural and historical rationale)
By working with the whole class to develop vocal work, visuals, group chorus movement, entrances and exits, we merged the poem and ideas with ‘Arms into Art’ with the idea of sculptures being made of weapons – see the site:
This added inspiration for the movement style, forms of physicality and sound in performance and made further links with the country, which could be included in a cultural and historical rational. We also read and referred to writing about the writer – see ‘Playing with words’
e) Developing it into an original piece (Concept and theatrical form)
Taking the last two lines of the poem we focused on what freedom means to us. Each student wrote one line to complete the sentence, ‘Freedom is…….’. Using the students each speaking their own lines we chose a different space and different performance style to contrast with the poem.
I hope that this is of use to students and teachers as they explore the PPP stimuli and start choosing their Independent projects.