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  • Paola Sanchez

Week 2 - Research & planning

Updated: May 30

Monday 11th January


We had a catch up meeting with our tutors to clarify some changes in the the brief due to the online-format of the puppet show. Later in the day, the team met in order to plan the rest of the week, clarify everyones roles and discuss logistic issues.


As any other project, the start is always full of different ideas and it takes time to narrow and clarify the concept, so we started by defining the age group: 7 to 9 years old. During the brainstorm, we noticed that a common idea was the use of animals as characters and the theme of loneliness, which we consider could be of the kids interest when it comes to missing friends in lockdown. Also, the use of animals gives us plenty of possibilities to match the school curriculum by addressing geography and biology subjects. We discussed the idea of selecting animals from different ecosystems, maybe from the same country, we questioned if they are going to meet physically or not, and we also thought about the possibility of including climate change and sustainability. However, we will try to keep it simple focusing on loneliness and potentially open up a conversation about how kids cope with the current situation of isolation.


After doing a schedule for the week, we decided to continue by doing some research individually and tomorrow decide our characters. I realised that mine is guided by interesting possibilities of movement, colour and texture.



 

Tuesday 12th January


We met in the afternoon with the aim of defining the title, brief, characters and initiate the story arc. However, before starting the conversation Victoria brought another idea to the table: sustainability and climate change, which came from watching "A perfect planet'. I watched that same documentary last week when I was doing some research for the turtle and tortoise show.


We know that this topic has been addressed before, however, this doesn't mean that things have changed. It's easy to forget issues that don't have a quick solution, so watching this documentary opened my eyes again, made me feel worried but most of all, made me want to do something about it. For this project, I would like to tell a story that matters to the kids, that's why it was really hard for me to choose between the previous idea of loneliness and missing friends, and sustainability and climate change, because I consider both very important.


We couldn't decide on one as a group and instead made two stories that we'll share tomorrow with Little Angel and ask for advice. Both are based on the idea of 'connection'. The connection kids can feel with others through acts of kindness and reduce the feeling of loneliness during the pandemic, and the connections that rule the natural world where we all need each other to exist.

 

Wednesday 13th January


Since we started talking yesterday about the environment and our relationship as humans with nature, the Maya culture came into my mind. I've always admired their wisdom and respect for everything that surrounds them, so their worldview inspired my research and I found a lovely story for kids: 'Baklam', which I translated in order to share with my peers.



We first had a meeting as a team where we discussed the title and ideas for the workshop. Afterwards, we presented them to Little Angel Theatre. Our proposed title is: 'I am | We are', which was taken from the Mayan story and we think matches the two different ideas we have. We received good feedback from both of them and their advice was to start playing to see how the story and characters develop in order to be able to focus in one direction.


We had two more meetings between the team where we tried to define the blurb of the show so we can send it in addition to the title and the age group to Little Angel by Friday.

In the first one we discussed more ideas but since we were not being able to define the blurb, we decided to take half an hour to individually work and look for inspiration. I personally worked on the set and did a storyboard with potential backgrounds.



When we came back, we shared our thoughts but we only ended up feeling more confused and we didn't finalised the blurb. I know that the more people involved, the more complicated it is to agree, but also, doing it online I feel like it makes it harder and more exhausting.

 

Thursday 14th January


Since we are talking about connections and how crucial every single being is in the cycle of life, I visually though about a circle for the set. I had the idea of a spin wheel containing the three environments: air, land and sea, that could rotate and show the connection between the different animals without bringing them physically together.


Before having a meeting with all the team, Manuela and I got together in order to share some puppet and set design ideas. She really liked the idea of the spin wheel so we started thinking about possible mechanisms. Later, we shared it with the rest of the team and got a positive response. Personally, I think that visually is very interesting and we could play with the rotation movement in different layers, however, we need to think how would it work with the puppets and the puppeteers.



During the meeting, we also talked about ideas for the workshop, potential animals for the show and different ways to approach the making and building of the set and puppets next week. Manuela and I will be working really close with Victoria because we consider the music and the design can inspire and inform each other in a really positive way.


And we finally have a blurb!: “I Am | We Are” is a story of three animals in an interconnected world, which shows the power of every single being on our planet. Every little action can create a ripple effect leading to big change.

 

Friday 15th January


I kept experimenting with the idea of the 'circular set' and some potential configurations. In order to explore the movement of the different layers and the interaction with the puppets, I made a couple of models.



In today's team meeting, we mainly spoke about the workshop. We shared some activities such as easy puppets that kids can make at home and talked about the number of shows that we'll be doing per day. We also decided that the full session is going to last for 50 minutes: 10 min show, 20-30 min workshop and 10 min Q&A. However, the length of the workshop could be adjustable depending on the dynamic of the class upon communication with the teacher prior to the puppet show. Then we break-out into rooms: design team and marketing team, in order to start working in the different areas. We've found that sometimes is better to discuss specific ideas in smaller groups and then share them with the rest of the team.


As the design team, we changed direction and decided to leave on one side the 'circular set' idea and instead start designing and building the puppets. The reason behind was the complex mechanism and the fact that we are still unsure about how gravity and grounding the puppets in the set would work. While Manuela and I started playing with different materials at home, Victoria was writing music. Manuela built a model of a whale and a lynx using wire, sheep wool and cardboard, and I made a model of a toucan with paper and cardboard.



 

Sunday 17th January


I met Victoria and Manuela to exchange some materials for the set & puppet making next week.

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