Like all of you, I am in the midst of planning, and contingency planning. I have already submitted plans to my admin of how we can work safely, built within the assumption that we will be at school, can have after school programming, will be allowed to have audiences, etc. Fortunately, Nairobi's weather is great all year, so we can outside a lot for rehearsals and potentially performances too if we are not allowed to have audiences in our auditorium. But of course, there is the question of what to do if we are not at school at all. Porting plays - some made for the medium, others, monologue-driven - makes sense and is on the table.But I want to broaden the brainstorming...What could we do that is NOT theatre? What about filmmaking? Or writing competitions like the Quarantine Bake-Off? (Did anyone do that this spring? I did two of them. It was series of fun writing competitions that involved writing a 10 page script in 48 hrs that had to include a few elements. These were then read and a few were selected to be read aloud in reader's theatre.
Any other thoughts? I just want to think through what is possible and not limit ourselves only to porting theatre to Zoom.
I tried two experiments in different classes this spring, both involved me building free websites through one of the common "build your site for business! platforms."
Experiment #1: I created a "setting" by building a "website" for a fake high school. There were a series of tabs at the top--athletics, announcements, a literary magazine, student newspaper, a teacher's desk (which included a grade book, emails from students, etc), a page for student elections, and a page of visual images. The kids then explored the site, some found the "hidden pages" (if you clicked on the image of a garbage can, you got to see notes people threw away. Each student created a character (using an existing name in the site or not, and wrote and filmed a monologue as a moment in the life of that student (we threw diagetics out the window to make life easier.) In the next phase, students designed pages for new clubs, wrote articles for the student newspaper, added photos, and found ways to strengthen their character in the world. For the Final phase, they worked with partners to write and record audio scenes (also using Soundtrap), which were then added to the site. The kids loved the dive into imaginative play, and since the two sections of the class got to work together, they had a lot of fun with it. This was my first year at the school, and a bit or a high wire act to get them to trust me and go with it, and there are things I could've done if I knew them better to strengthen the project. At the end, I asked them what they would do differently if they could start over at the beginning knowing what they know now, and most said "make stronger choices, connect more with other characters, make choices quickly, and then adjust, rather than waiting to get in the game." In Year 1, I'll take it.
Experiment #2 : My small "advanced" class created a Choose-your-own adventure website, which involved the viewer playing a role as a student 60 years in the future, when all learning's virtual, and a small band of students has formed to pass bootleg videos of real teachers teaching actual content, instead of their dystopian government's propaganda lessons. The Viewer watches a short video, and usual has to make a choice between 2 options, taking them through the story, having to make decisions about whom to trust, and eventually landing on one of 7 endings. When we realized we needed more actors, we got the Acting 1 class involved to play minor characters, which was a fun collaboration that couldn't have happened during our in-person schedule. We also got a popular teacher to make a cameo video teaching his lesson in the "best" ending. We shared the site with the school community at the end of the year, and got a big response. People had a lot of fun with it, and the kids learned a lot about crafting a story.
Replying to Christina,
Hi!I took the "Fictional Setting" project down over the summer, but you and others were able to view it before then.
I'm with Patti. I'm going a bit old school and exploring radio drama. I'm looking at programs that could allow the students to perform from home, using their phones or laptops as mics. I'm thinking of something like War of the Worlds for Halloween. Partnering with the local public access radio station to see if we can do a public broadcast of our show. I haven't decided if I'm going to seek permission to use a script in print or have the students write their own. I may also include recreating some vintage ads that we can pre-record. I do want my design students to explore sound design, both Foley and recorded sound.
I'm still in the planning/ research stage so I'd love imput or resource suggestions from anyone who has taught radio drama before.