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Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness By Annette Box President Drama Queensland INTRODUCTION: Aurelian Creative Artist Genevieve Trace has mastered the art of extracting stories from the locals of her sugarcane farming home town in the Burdekin district to create a contemporary performance piece that is bittersweet & evocative. This workshop aims to equip teachers with a range of approaches to assist their students to engage with the styles of Community & Verbatim Theatre, while incorporating Contemporary & Post Modern conventions & dramatic techniques. WARM UP ACTIVITIES: Shelter, Survivor, Cyclone - There needs to be groups of 3 with one person spare (workshop leader may need to participate) - 2 people create a 'shelter' around one person by joining hands in a circle around them. They are the 'shelter' - 1 person stands in the middle. They are the 'survivor' - When 'shelter' is called the 2 people need to raise their arms but remain connected & move throughout the space to find a new 'survivor' to protect (they bring their arms over the person & create a new circle with an individual in the middle) - When 'survivor' is called that person must duck from the cover of their 'shelter' & find a new one - When 'cyclone' is called all previous roles are cancelled & participants must form new groups of 3. They can fulfil either of the 2 roles, regardless of the role they previously fulfilled - The aim is to not be the extra person who is NOT a survivor or a shelter. It is this person who gives the verbal cues for the participants PHASE 1: Pictures of You - Entry points to Stories - Explain that a Q&A approach is not always the best way to gain access to someone's most intriguing stories, pictures can tell a thousand words - Show an extract of the TV Show 'Pictures of You' where Anh Do (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNI6aRwXFwY) is interviewed using selected pictures from his past. Explain that subjects for verbatim interviews can always be asked to bring photos from their past as a stimulus for the interview -Engaging images - participants are to work in small groups using the large black & white images created to create possibilities for what stories may emerge from some seemingly mundane or pedestrian photos. Select one & share with the group. The focus here is on the beauty & dramatic potential on the often seemingly 'small' stories

Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness President ... · Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness By Annette Box President Drama Queensland INTRODUCTION: Aurelian Creative

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Page 1: Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness President ... · Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness By Annette Box President Drama Queensland INTRODUCTION: Aurelian Creative

Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness

By Annette Box

President Drama Queensland

INTRODUCTION:

Aurelian Creative Artist Genevieve Trace has mastered the art of extracting stories from the locals of her

sugarcane farming home town in the Burdekin district to create a contemporary performance piece that is

bittersweet & evocative. This workshop aims to equip teachers with a range of approaches to assist their

students to engage with the styles of Community & Verbatim Theatre, while incorporating Contemporary

& Post Modern conventions & dramatic techniques.

WARM UP ACTIVITIES:

Shelter, Survivor, Cyclone

- There needs to be groups of 3 with one person spare (workshop leader may need to participate)

- 2 people create a 'shelter' around one person by joining hands in a circle around them. They are the

'shelter'

- 1 person stands in the middle. They are the 'survivor'

- When 'shelter' is called the 2 people need to raise their arms but remain connected & move throughout

the space to find a new 'survivor' to protect (they bring their arms over the person & create a new circle

with an individual in the middle)

- When 'survivor' is called that person must duck from the cover of their 'shelter' & find a new one

- When 'cyclone' is called all previous roles are cancelled & participants must form new groups of 3. They

can fulfil either of the 2 roles, regardless of the role they previously fulfilled

- The aim is to not be the extra person who is NOT a survivor or a shelter. It is this person who gives the

verbal cues for the participants

PHASE 1:

Pictures of You - Entry points to Stories

- Explain that a Q&A approach is not always the best way to gain access to someone's most intriguing

stories, pictures can tell a thousand words

- Show an extract of the TV Show 'Pictures of You' where Anh Do

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNI6aRwXFwY) is interviewed using selected pictures from his past.

Explain that subjects for verbatim interviews can always be asked to bring photos from their past as a

stimulus for the interview

-Engaging images - participants are to work in small groups using the large black & white images created to

create possibilities for what stories may emerge from some seemingly mundane or pedestrian photos.

Select one & share with the group. The focus here is on the beauty & dramatic potential on the often

seemingly 'small' stories

Page 2: Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness President ... · Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness By Annette Box President Drama Queensland INTRODUCTION: Aurelian Creative

PHASE 2:

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies - The Art of Storytelling

- Participants are to pair up & select one true story from their past (can be light!) & to share it with their

partner. Their partner is then to retell the story to them. Repeat for the other person.

- Pairs are then to select their own OR their partner's story to retell, without telling other participants &

the group are to guess whose story it is.

- This is used to identify key acting techniques required when delivering another's story authentically: eye

contact, audience engagement, sincerity if vocal & facial expression, genuine emotional attachment,

reflective in style

PHASE 3:

The words, the rituals

- Using an audio extract of an interview about the Brisbane 2011 Floods, participants will reflect on key

interviewing techniques utilised by the ABC Radio Journalist: open ended questions, pursuing a lead in a

story, capitalising on opportunities for detail & when to change tactic or path

- Participants are to work in small groups & to take one audio grab they relates to a ritual that could be

workshopped in the space to bring the story to life. The focus is on using both abstract & literal

representations of the ritual as well as aspects of ritual drama (eg. chorus, canon, symbol, repetition,

motif, call & response) to contextualise the story & recreate the moment & the mood of the story.

Participants are to select key phrases or extracts from the interview (the transcript will be provided) to

include vocally throughout as well as one audio grab to be included during this - this really allows the

audience to connect with the truth of the story & the reality of the 'character'

OTHER ENTRY POINTS:

Other ways to gain access to an interviewees’ personal memories & stories without using the traditional

Q&A approach include:

Objects - ask the interviewee to bring an object of significance to them to talk about Senses - walk the

interviewee through favourite or memorable sensory moments in their past to unlock a wider range of

experiences Key phrases - provide a series of leading statements to guide their sharing & avoid cloze

responses, eg. My most embarrassing moment was when...

Idiosyncrasies - do they have a habit? Get them to demonstrate & to share where, when & why it

developed.

RESOURCES TO USE IN CLASS:

‘Verbatim: Staging Memory and Community’ (Currency Press), Pictures of You (Channel 7, any episodes,

many available on youtube), any interviews by Michael Parkinson or Andrew Denton, Playscripts: ‘Embers’,

‘Aftershocks’, ‘April's Fool’, ‘Snapshots from Home’ & ‘Cribbie’, Roslyn Oades & her work on Headphone

Verbatim, namely 'I'm Your Man' & 'Stories of Love & Hate' with Belvoir Theatre, 'Aurelian' Resource

CONCLUSION:

How to apply the 'Aurelian' Resource in class or a unit of work:

- View as an example of Verbatim, Community, Post-Modern, Contemporary Theatre or the one-person

show style for Responding work or as an example of the Presenting or Forming skills involved

Page 3: Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness President ... · Aurelian Workshop: Extracting the Sweetness By Annette Box President Drama Queensland INTRODUCTION: Aurelian Creative

- Use the interviews or show 'script' with the creatives in a Forming task to analyse the dramatic choices

made in the devising process

- Use extracts of the interview transcripts to play with creating or performing Verbatim scripts

- Use as a model for the Presenting skills required in this style of theatre

- Time for Questions