Friday, May 27, 2011

"Let's Have Swords!": The Pre-K Play
































Each year since my second year at Woodland Park, the Pre-K class has undertaken the production of a play for the entertainment of their friends, families and other loved ones. I shared the first draft of this year's script with you awhile back and given you a few glimpses of our progress as we created our costumes, sets and props over the intervening months. Since the beginning of April, we've been rehearsing once a week.

This was a class of all boys, nine of them, guys who've been playing with one another for a long time and this production reflected them perfectly, both as individuals and as a group. As Sylvia's mom Toby, our class blogger, put it:

The performers truly understood what they were doing up there . . . Seriously. They weren't just saying this line or wearing that costume because the script of the teacher told them to. This was their play. They wrote it. They invented the characters. Really, they've been "playing" it all year long in the loft and the block area -- and how amazing it was to see those "bad guys" come to life so vividly.

And there were a lot of bad guys in the play. At certain points during rehearsals and throughout the school year they all, with the notable exception of Dennis, declared themselves to be "bad guys." In fact, this type of classroom play caused some friction among the parents earlier in the year, and as we debated among ourselves the rights and wrongs and ins and outs of violent imagery and "weapon play" at school, some of it obviously got through to the boys. As what we thought was a discussion among the parents reached its peak during January and February the boys were working on their script. They were often contentious about the details, sometimes debating line after line, but when someone suggested, "Let's have swords!" they were unanimous. For me, the key moment of this play, the part that moves me beyond all others, is when I, in my role as narrator, read that line, "Let's have swords!" and they all stand there on the stage, shoulder-to-shoulder, holding those cardboard and yoghurt container swords boldly over their heads. That, to me, is a pure and powerful statement of both art and politics.

I know there are a few videos around of last Wednesday's performance. Hopefully, I can share one of them with you in the coming days, but in the meantime I offer you the final script of The Goo Goo Gaa Gaas Versus The Goo Goo Gaa, including the stage directions which I read aloud to assist the performers.


Narrator:

Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan, Invisible Bad Guy Flying Monster Isak, Bad Guy Mummy, and Puncher. They fly in a space ship. They all stand in the space ship.



There’s a Viking too. There’s a Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper too. There’s a Goo Goo Gaa Gaa too. There’s a Sticky Goo Goo Gaa Dennis too. There’s a Bad Guy Flying Monster too. They all stand in the space ship too.

And more Bad Guy Mummys and Bad Aliens too. They are very, very Bad Aliens and very, very castles. Everyone points at the Bad Guy Mummys and castles.

Eight of these fierce bad guy backdrops made it through our chaotic, messy
painting process to decorate our stage and represent the bad guy mummies
and aliens.

Actually everybody really flies. They all fly around the audience. Then they come back to the stage.

The Bad Guy Mummy and Puncher and the Viking are bad ones. They go to the balcony. And let’s have swords! Everyone holds up his sword. Then everyone sits on the top step.

drink containers, then used it to make swords. We even painted them ourselves
using real silver spray paint. We covered our mouths with filter masks to
avoid breathing the fumes, just as we had earlier in the year when we 

The Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper is the best because it is a storm trooper too and dumps dirt in the water so the Viking’s ship can’t get through. The Viking comes down from the stage and tries to sail in the water. The dirt sinks to the bottom and the Vikings gets through. Then he goes back on the stage. They all sit down on the step.

The Bad Guy Mummy stands up. He has a sword with an arm. The Bad Guy Mummy shows the audience is sword with an arm. He sits back down on the step. (We never did really figure out what a "sword with an arm" referred to, so Charlie B. just held up his sword again.)

Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan has a goo goo gaa with a hand. He stands up. The Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan shows the audience his goo goo gaa with a hand. Then he sits down on the step. (We had a lot of discussion about what this meant, but finally Lachlan explained that it just meant his own hand, so that's what he showed the audience.)

We all go to outer space, except the Viking and Puncher. They shake their heads “no” and stay on the stage. They don’t want to go. Everyone else gets into the space ship.


We see planets and live in them. They all point at the planets. Then they get out of their space ship and get in the planet.


Paper mache planets.

The Sticky Goo Goo Gaa Dennis has a by bo bo. The Sticky Goo Goo Gaa Dennis shows the audience his by bo bo. (Dennis made his "by bo bo" by using a glue gun to fuse together an old shoe tree and part of a bubble wand, but it kept breaking during rehearsals, so for the play he just used the bubble wand part.)

The bad pirate’s boat flies with wings in outer space like Captain Hook’s boat, because him splashes in water and flies back up.

We put a lot of time and effort into building this PVC scaffold to support a
pulley that would hoist the ship into "outer space" then drop it, then fly back up.
In the end it was very flimsy, but it did the job.

When they’re in space we crash into a bubble planet and fall down. Then we all sit on the step.

We made our bubble planet by using a glue gun to stick bubble wrap to a palates type ball.

The robot comes out. His name is R2D2.

Another glue gun project.

Then ballet dancing. (We danced to The Nutcracker overture.)

Then the robot falls right down. Then the Bad Guy Mummy, Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper, Goo Goo Gaa Gaa, and Sticky Goo Goo Gaa fall right down. Then they all sit on the step.

The helicopter transports the Bad Guy Flying Monster. 


The Bad Guy Flying Monster lands on another planet in a helicopter. The helicopter comes out to fight the Bad Guy Flying Monster and it comes to the stage and rescues the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper. The Bad Guy Flying Monster and the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper go back to the planet together.

Then the Bad Guy Flying Monster has a light saber too. The Bad Guy Flying Monster holds up his light saber.

Then everybody gets the Bad Guy Flying Monster and puts him in jail. Then they sit on the step.

You can see our jail bars there behind the boys. The process of making them
was really all about building personal space ships which were used to fly
around the classroom.

The Bad Guy Flying Monster gets his light saber and cuts the bars. And then he escaped from jail and goes back to his planet.

And then they build a stronger jail made out of diamonds and they get the Bad Guy Flying Monster and put him back in jail. Then they sit on the step.

Then the Bad Guy Flying Monster gets his light saber again and cuts the diamond bars. He put away his light saber and goes back to his planet.

And then they build an even stronger jail with diamonds, fire, concrete, and metal padlocks, iron chains and duct tape, straw, brick, mortar, light sabers, melted metal, and more iron. Then they get the Bad Guy Flying Monster again and put him in jail. Then they sit on the step.

And then the Bad Guy Flying Monster gets the light saber again and cuts through that stuff. Through the roof of the jail because the roof only has wood. Then the Bad Guy Flying Monster goes back to his planet.

And then the Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan takes his light saber and goes to the planet and kills the Bad Guy Flying Monster. Then he comes back and sits on the step. The Monster is dead . . . Or is he?  (Max, the Monster, did a great job of opening his eyes at this point and beaming at the audience "so they won't be worried.")

And then the Viking comes out on his horse with his swords and there’s a big fight!

And then the helicopter spins through over the heads of the Goo Goo Gaas upside down and makes a fire.

The helicopter shoots water on the fire and then everybody except the Sticky Goo Goo Gaa Dennis gets burned. They all fall fall down and say “owie, owie.”

Then everybody get protected under the space ship. Then everybody comes back on the stage and stands close together.

And then a paper comes and wraps us all up and then we get throwed into the water.

Our water, which was a large piece of painted paper was, by design, purple.
These guys also painted a large black sheet to represent the Monsters planet
and a pink sheet to represent the fire station that comes up later in the script.
I don't think they enjoyed anything more than painting large canvases together. 

And then the hearts come down and cover us all up. 


Then everyone goes back and sits on the step.

A bat comes and gets the Bad Guy Flying Monster who comes alive again. (For this we used a large Halloween decoration bat on a stick.)

Then the Bad Guy Flying Monster has a plan and rubs his chin. He opens the bat’s claws and falls out Kaboom!

Everybody draws pictures . . . and crumples them up . . . and throws them on the audience!

And the Goo Goo Gaas, the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper, the Puncher, the Bad Guy Mummy, and everybody runs around the audience. Then they come back to the stage and sit on the step.

The recycling robot garbage truck takes everything away.

And then the puff balls fly out! (We threw puff balls at the audience.)

Then the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper gets into a fire station on the balcony. Then the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper gets the Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan, Puncher, Invisible Bad Guy Flying Monster Isak, and Goo Goo Gaa Gaa and takes them to the fire station. They are all friends and they hug.

The Goo Goo Gaa Gaa Puncher Lachlan does not want the bad guys to kill him and says, “No!”

Everybody goes on the Dump Truck Star Wars Ship Clone Trooper for a ride around the audience. Then they come back to the stage and sit on the step.

Then the Viking stands up and gets invincible and shows the audience his muscles.

The Viking takes his sword.

Then the Goo Goo Gaas cut through the Viking’s sword. Then the Viking makes a ranger sword. (Orlando, the Viking, explained that "ranger" is a substance stronger than diamonds.)

A chair falls down on the stage.

Then a table fell down on the stage.

Then Goo Goo Gaas find treasure in a trashcan, open the box, and throw them at the audience! 

We used a nifty little styrofoam cutter to make our treasure, which we painted
with gold and silver acrylic paint.

And then the Viking stands up and takes his sword and cuts through the chair and then the table.

And then the people fall off the stage into the water.

THE END

(If you want to see the video of our performance, click here.)

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1 comment:

Sherry and Donna said...

I for one am really looking forward to the video Tom ... If it's half as good as last years it will be a scream!
Donna :) :)

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