Archive for May, 2009

Touch Blue

A game at last!

I learned this as a warm-up game in a beginning improv class and have also used it in trainings as an icebreaker or to help an unfocused group get focused on the here and now.

The test run with LP this game lasted about, oh, 60 seconds but is something we can expand on when she’s into it.

Touch Blue
Leader says “touch blue” and everyone (including the leader) finds something blue to touch. The the leader says “touch ______” (touch dirt, touch red, touch the letter A, touch nose, etc). For the toddler set, keep it specific and concrete. Older kids and adults may enjoy getting into more abstract concepts (touch light, touch time, touch tomorrow).

You can also take turns naming what to touch or have your little person take over naming what to touch.

One thing I particularly like about this game is the adjustable range…it can all be about things you can reach sitting together or things that are in the room or in the yard or on the page of a book.

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That’s my new name for LP flitting from thing to thing (although the result is less like a butterfly going from flower to flower and more like a tornado strewing things over great distances).

We were at our favorite children’s museum, Habitot, this morning (along with a new travel lovey, the purple platypus who participated in most activities with LP and got her face painted too). LP went from activity to activity for almost 2 hours. It was interesting for me to sit back and watch her test things out and find what was most interesting to her

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LP runs forward, fearless
going into, through and out of the cave,
charging down the path to discover
and discover and discover.

Some days I’m just trying to keep up.
Other days I’m just trying to butt out.
Some days I miss not-being someone’s mom.
Other days I just want to hold each moment of being her mom so tight.

Today…today, I just enjoyed.
We three in the woods, just being.

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Un-Scripted’s new show “Shakespeare: The Musical” is open and WOW what an experience it is to not only be back on stage but also to be doing a full-length, completely improvised (i.e. made up on the spot) show in Shakespearian dialect with songs, with costumes and with only 4 actors so we all play multiple roles.

As happens from time to time, last weekend there was an angry patron who didn’t believe we made it up. It always surprises me. From the inside, we know that any pre-scripting or planning takes away from the storytelling magic that can happen if we stay open & present and say YES to each other.

We do rehearse and the point of rehearsing is to have the same set of expectations — in the broadest sense of meaning. We share an idea of what view of the world Shakespeare had and ideas of what settings & situations are congruent with his writings; we share our struggles to learn to correctly use thee, thou, does, doth and so on…and we’ve learned a lot about each other’s imaginations so we can TRUST each other in the moment, so that we can RELAX and PLAY.

I suppose it can be taken as a compliment when someone thinks it is all pre-scripted. But my personal goal and desire is to have the audience be immersed in a way that they experience this as a co-creation. For indeed, it is co-created…from chatting with the audience before the show, to the suggestions at the top, to the reactions of laughter, gasps or dead silence, to just the “feel” of the energy in the theater — all of that shapes the show.

There’s no way to know, but I wonder if the people who don’t believe in spontaneous theater (improv groups experience this often), either don’t have kids or are distanced from their time with little people. My experiences as mama to LP have lead me to believe there is more to be discovered in any moment than I knew possible.

If you’re in the Bay Area, SHAKESPEARE: THE MUSICAL runs most of the month of may (details on Un-Scripted’s homepage). If you want to see a bit of what we do…you can check out our showblog or our YouTube channel.

And if you want to lay some Shakespeare on your kiddo….I often use it when we’re in a playful mood already and cast LP as a lady and myself as her servant (and/or fool!).

Use a little “fast-food” Shakespeare language and see what happens:

Methinks (“I think”)
“Methinks my lady’s diaper is in need of much changing”

Mayhaps (“maybe”)
“Mayhaps digging in the backyard shouldst be our plan”

As such (“like this”)
“Shall I hold ye upside down as such?”

Aye and nay (yes and no)
“Another vitamin? Aye for you have had but one”
“Another vitamin? Nay not – two have been had so no more until the morrow.”

Tis true (“yes” or general agreement)
“I see before me a picture of orange and green…tis true!”

After a few interactions Shakespearian-style, LP was saying “tis true, tis true, tis true” which very funny.

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