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Tableaux Storyboard Power Struggles in the Zoo


These puppets are made from polystyrene balls, fabric, found materials etc. The first group had been complaining about how long the papier mache had taken so I decided to do these simpler rod puppets with the second group. As a consequence this grou had a lot more time for performance and story.

In Week 8 of the second group I introduced the idea of tableaux vivants - literally "Living pictures" - a still frozen moment from, and suggesting, dramatic action. The plan was to use these as an opportunity to develop our storyboards before we start moving the puppets and bringing them to life. I asked each group to create at least 4 tableaux showing the most important elements of their story - suggesting they might want to change their story as they do this maybe incorporating some ideas from the preceding brainstorm exercise, and letting the puppets and how they look and are placed in relation to each other give them ideas. I suggested it might be a good idea for someone in the group to act as director - to stand out and act as the audience to take the ’outside view’ of what they were doing and check it is showing what they want and to help them improve it if possible. or for their to take turns to ’direct’.

It should be noted the weaker / less committed students found this exercise quite challenging. In most of the groups I had to work very hard to make it happen. The plan had been to show them to each other ’read’ them and discuss how to develop them together and then work further on them in response to this. It was very slow work and they were not really interested in participating in any kind of discussion. Confidence is lower in this group as is committment. We had to return to it the following week which was slightly better - perhaps the second week of warm ups and performance exercises which preceded each session were begingin to open them up a bit. We photographed each image made. In week 10 these images lead into their finally improvising and performing the stories for each other.

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