Theater games offer art, but more
By Kathy Fehl
of Wega Arts
The workshop “Jump Up & Shout,” scheduled for Aug. 13-18, will include theater games, skit development and creating a new song. There will be a live performance on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m., at Wautopia!, part of Waupaca Arts on the Square. The project will also include making a music video based on the performance.
We are grateful to the Bright Idea Fund of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region for recognizing Jump Up & Shout! as a project useful to the community, and awarding us a $1,000 grant.
Theater games serve to increase awareness of our sense of self and the ways in which we mask ourselves. These games increase resilience, the capacity to observe, the capacity to trust and the capacity to cooperate. The games encourage spontaneity in life and on stage.
Skit writing techniques will be used to encourage the contribution of ideas from all participants. One of our main values is the belief that everyone has things to say. At Wega Arts we want to foster confidence in expressing oneself. In the environment of the workshop, youth will learn that expressing our ideas is joyous and fulfilling.
Developing a song and movement to create a performance piece will bring a sense of accomplishment. Working on a music video will engage youth who are more tech- than performance-oriented.
The theme — voting and how it is part of the fabric of our society — is one we want to encourage youth to think about. Far too many of our citizens do not vote. We hope that by talking about the subject in the process of developing the skit, the participating youths will gain an appreciation of the importance of each voice.
Cordis Heard, who will be working on the theater games and skit development with us, has worked on improvisation with Paul Sills, one of the founders of Second City in Chicago. Cordis has worked with Second City, and has done “story theater” in Manhattan, and with the Jersey City Children’s Theater. Cordis has been a part of two events with Wega Arts prior to this one — Jersey City Children’s Theater and Carol Sills’ Story Theater workshop.
We are expanding our outreach efforts to get at risk kids involved. We believe that theater arts are especially valuable for those who are in any way outsiders or lonely, or frightened.
The performance on Aug. 18 will contribute to the celebration of the Waupaca area’s culture. Arts on the Square is always a wonderful event, put together by the Waupaca Community Arts Board. This year’s introduction of the imaginary “town” of Wautopia will be a perfect background. To sum up, we hope that youth participants will become more comfortable with speaking up, and with creating new things.
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