Friday, November 15, 2013

Theatre workshop

    Several day ago I had planned to read the book Bugs and Bugsicles with the boys and we were going to make a bug hotel using toilet paper tubes, sticks, leaves, moss, etc.  Then it rained and flurried a little and we ended up scrapping the lesson.  I had planned to postpone it to the following day, but then I had insomnia and was up half the night.  I was so tired the next day I don't even think my boys ate lunch.  I sat on the couch, read a book and "played" on the computer.  They watched movies and TV (scientific shows so I could at least feel somewhat OK about their lessons for the day), played outside and in their rooms.  I honestly am not sure what they did all day-- occasionally it go so loud I split them up and sent them to their room but mostly I felt (and probably looked like) a zombie; well not with the blood and brains trailing down my chin but I definitely had the staggering walk down and a pretty vacant stare.  It was not pretty.  I ended up taking a second shower in the late afternoon to wake myself up and get us out the door for karate.  I loved that we ended our day with karate.  They learned all sorts of wonderful anti- bullying lessons, talked about "black belt behavior" at home, at school, and at class.  They learned some new Korean words, built new muscles, and learned some new defensive technique.  Ian even earned his patch (finally!). 
     I was determined to read our book yesterday, but now that it had been so consistently cold for so many days in a row I was thinking our bug hotel was not a good idea.  I'll have to try and remember to set one up with the boys earlier next year.  I decided to turn our Thursday into an "animal" day.  We watched Saving A Species: killer whale, Shark and Dolphin.  It was pretty good too. It's put out by Sea World and it talks all about at risk animals, what is being done to help them, and how we can help save them.  I'm hoping our library has a few more of the movies in this series.  If not I know Amazon.com does, the boys would love this tiger series.  We read our Bugsicle book and I had the boys predict what each insect would do in winter before I read the section.  We learned a lot about bugs from this beautifully illustrated story.  We finished our morning playing Animal Tracks Memory.  The boys had to match each animal to it's animal track (they're both labeled with small words so the boys could learn various animal tracks too).  Too bad they ended up yelling and screaming at one another over the game and I made them clean it up before they finished.   I told them they could go to their rooms or outside but they really needed to split up. 

    Ian headed outside and fixed his saw so he could continue to work on his garage.  The other two elected to play in their rooms.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day but it was still pretty cold and if I can't bring myself to get outside I feel bad making them, even though I think they really need to get out and blow off steam.  They played for a bit and then I reluctantly packed them up to head our for a homeschool group play date today.  I say reluctantly because I just wasn't sure how the boys would act today.  They've been getting progressively meaner, louder and, just so much in each other's faces and spaces this week that I'm at my whit's end.  I think cabin fever is setting in and we need to get out and about.  Problem is I HATE winter and the cold.  By this time in the year I just want to hibernate or  snuggle on the couch with a fire in the fireplace and a good book on my lap or perhaps a movie and some hot cocoa.  I can't, of course, but I really, really want to! 
      While in the car we listened to more of The Hobbit (and I think we'll be listening to it for a looong time since it's a 10 disc set!).   We arrived and had so much fun!  The mom who organizes our homeschool play group has a wide age- range of kids so she also runs a tween and teen group too.  Today's play group was a theatre workshop and a few of the tweens and teens participated.  They performed a song from their summer musical and then asked for volunteers for the audience.  We learned a lot and even had a teen there from our local group who does live theatre and film productions.  She was leaving from our group to head to Boston for rehearsals.  I was glad to hear her say she's actually playing a "boys" part in her latest production.  My boys learned about props, make up artists, behind the scenes workers, and even got a chance to try out a few acting skills.  They played a few character games, got silly, tried on props, and acted out a small scene from Hamlet.  I think Alec amazed a mom or two by memorizing his line and not using his cue card at all, like the other kids.  To me that was just Alec being Alec.  They learned a bit more about Shakespeare, learned the names of some of his famous plays, and talked about the three different genres he wrote about.  They had so much fun. 
Ian was such an evil king

Alec was disappointed to still be alive at the
end of the play.

     












            





    
      After our play group we decided to do a quick grocery shopping.  Ian helped me pull groceries off the shelves and put them in the cart while Alec helped cross stuff off the list again.  A kind older lady remarked on how helpful they were and asked if she could borrow them, just while she finished her shopping.  I'm glad they looked helpful, because they don't always feel helpful.  Though they did remember to remind me to buy extra food for the needy and drop it in the donation bin at the end of our trip.  I'm trying to get them (and me!) in the habit of doing this every week.  I explained to the boys that even if we can only spend a few dollars each week and just put one or two items in the bin that all those little items really add up over time. 
      On the way home we talked some more about the theatre workshop and theatre in general.  We talked about the Magic Tree House book Stage Fright On a Summer Night.  We talked about how women weren't allowed on stage then and how now anything goes.  The girl we met today is playing a boy's part.  I wondered if they have as many boys trying out as girls.  It seems like live theatre is  treated as more of a "women's" thing now a days.  Most men think it odd to dance, sing and prance around on a stage unless it's a very masculine role.  I can't think of many that would be happy to be playing a women's role.  We were reminded today that back in Shakespeare's time the king and queen were both played by men.  The boys wondered why things were so different then and thought it odd.  I explained that society's views change over time and often swing from one side to the other and then back again.  Alec remarked that he didn't ever think he could get up on stage since he wouldn't be able to remember all the lines.  Somehow, I doubt Alec, of all people, would have difficulty with this.  I talked to them about my own meager experiences with performing.  I get major stage fright and hate being on stage, but I have done it on occasion.  I had no problem remembering my lines and pretty much all the other lines of all the other parts.  We talked about rehearsals, being cued from other actors and the differences between films and live stage acting. 
      We came home and the boys played outside, board games, watched movies, played video games and helped me put groceries away.  They went to take care of our neighbor's cats too.   It was a pretty quiet, uneventful afternoon and evening which was quite nice for a change.  The boys read books before bed and I felt like the day ended so quickly. 

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