Wednesday, May 19, 2010

wow! shadow puppets!

Today we finally got to playing around with some shadow puppets - the thing I was most excited about bringing up here! The kids ooohhhed and aaahhhed at the light and colour and I was deeply gratified by that.

Here are some photos - of all kinds of things...

Here we are making some shadow puppets for up against the screen, and on the overhead projector...

...and here's some beautiful playing around with shapes and colour.

Over the past few days we have really banged out the important points of the story of our play - and almost have a script. Here's a photo of me trying to map out the points and some of the action. As you can see, it's the age old story of good Queen turned bad by witch's evil spell, missing crowns, heroic bunnies and dogs and, of course, thieves and servants. Eat your heart out Disney - the kids at Innalik Public School are kicking your butt!

I have been through this process no few times, and I love it when the story grows organically out of the participants imaginations and art. Really, this story grew out of the masks the kids made - and all this reminded me of Teacher Tom's recent Pre K Play - although we've had a lot less role-switching than he did. A LOT of bunny masks were made (for some reason) and they all mutated into other things like villagers and castle workers, and the thieves just turned up out of nowhere one day, causing a huge and awesome plot twist.

Let's not forget the days (and days and days and days...) of effort spent on getting the handpuppets together. Here is a photo of a few in action - at some point in the play, all the villagers get blown away by a strong wind while out picking flowers - and I think we're going to do that with the hand puppets, as they all turned out to be pretty much regular looking people, with the odd dog and bunny thrown in to boot.

Yes! I love the stylish hair on all of them.

My dear friend Jane has run programs like this for year in Toronto, and has documented an amazing continuum of imaginary development in children. We have laughed and laughed at the regular re-occurrence of heroic animals and princesses wrongly accused. The kids of Inukjuak aren't any different, and it's a treat to see those common themes of childhood running so strongly across cultures.

Ok - enough for now, more shadowy goodness tomorrow - OH! Except for at the end of the session, because we'd spent so much time in the dark, the kids wanted to tell ghost stories instead of play games, and so we turned off the lights again and pretty well instantly had 24 kids screaming for the next 15 minutes. SOLID. Ha!

Shadowy nerdness out!

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