I spent the last week in rehearsals for various groups from the storytelling class. Storytelling is one of the 1st year actors' improvisation classes, and on Friday we had our showing for the other students and faculty in the drama department. There are two separate classes, each of whom split in to two for a total of four groups performing. They had spent the last two months choosing myths and then working on them with each other and musicians. Because of confusing scheduling I, at one point, was playing with three different groups. But then, because of more confusing scheduling, only ended up playing with two-which was probably a good thing.
It was fascinating watching them work together to develop the script, figure out casting, staging, and trying out various tactics to deal with difficult events in the stories- like how do you show a decapitation? A monkey jumping over an ocean? A baby born from a fire? A temple being built?
Over the course of the rehearsals they encountered the exact same issues with collaboration that we have been learning to deal with in the leadership course. Sometimes making all decisions democratically isn't the right way to go. How do you make sure that every one's ideas are voiced and heard as well as making sure that problems are being solved and work is being done? Not surprising that they faced the same issues, but still interesting to watch. Also some groups were much better at the beginning of the process and then flagged with the finishing touches, whereas others were ridiculously slow moving during the beginning rehearsals and then managed to pull of a marvelous performance.
Because of scheduling, the musicians were inconsistently available which meant that the music changed drastically at every rehearsal I went to because the personnel kept changing (you wouldn't approach dramatic music the same way with a bass and a drum that you would with a string quartet). All of the other musicians were part of the classical improvisation class and their professor came along to watch the rehearsals and offer suggestions. This was especially helpful one day when I was playing by myself- I was doing mostly sound effects and word painting and he was hollering out "something Major!" and then "heroic!" which pushed me then to create actual melodies which was a bit of an epiphany.
Anyhow- I took some pictures at the beginning of the show while everyone was finding seats and setting up. The performances took place in the gym where there are bars on the back of the room, a basketball hoop (oddly), and 5 ropes hanging from the ceiling. The circus class takes place there too, and I'm hoping to get involved with that class as well next year.