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ASSEMBLIES

 

We give you an exciting performance followed by an interactive workshop.  You will see striking images, mime-illusions, movement, dance, slapstick comedy and improvisation.  Schools may pick and choose which vignettes they wish to present to each audience from our list.  Themes and the grades for which we recommend them are listed with each title.

SEE PERFORMANCE VIGNETTES BELOW

 

WORKSHOPS

 

In our workshops, students expand their capacity for creative expression, self awareness and spatial intelligence. No other art form teaches these things quite like mime. Students get excited about our classroom visits and they have fun even as they’re learning. 

Grades for which we recommend these workshops are listed below each title.

 

Essential Mime

3-12

Go on a journey of self-discovery and body awareness.  By learning such mime techniques as handling invisible objects and creating walls, your students will learn to be more centered, focused and disciplined.  Students get excited as their bodies and minds are stretched beyond what they thought their limits were.

 

The Physics of Mime

5-9

It isn't rocket science.  These are the principles that define our physical world.  Mime technique can give you a better understanding of force, elastic recoil, balance, angular acceleration and Newton’s Laws of Motion. You will connect with the concepts not as abstractions on paper but as experiments in the laboratories of your own bodies.

 

Talk Without Words

K-12, Native Speakers & ELLs

What is your body saying when you mouth is closed? We focus on the language of facial expressions, gestures, postures and looks. These exercises are especially effective for English Language Learners.  Your students will learn how to be better communicators through expressive and conscious body language.  They will also learn face muscle exercises that will better equip them to pronounce new and foreign words.

 

            “It was fun to learn how to communicate without talking.”

            Felicia Montano, 6th grader, Valle Lindo Elementary, Chula Vista

               Quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Wed. Feb. 6, 2002, B-4

 

Spatial Relationships

4-12

What can you see with your mind's eye or say with a group picture? Through a series of creative exercises, you will learn to create invisible objects and define their parameters. This workshop helps you to develop your spatial intelligence and capacity for imagination with an emphasis on group building and cooperation.  

 

Walk Through History

4-8

§       What was it like to march with the Red-Coats, knowing that a rebel could be hiding behind every tree? 

§       How did runaway slaves encourage each other as they traveled the Underground Railroad? 

§       What did the Native Americans experience as they were marched on the Trail of Tears? 

 

Your students will contemplate these questions as they act out scenes from their history lessons.  They will put themselves in the shoes of their subjects to get in touch with their thoughts and feelings.  Whatever your curriculum, this workshop will give your students an experience to remember.

 

Balloon Sculpture

4-8,  Native Speakers & ELLs

What can you create with your breath & a few balloons? This workshop explores the artistic and spatial possibilities.  All instructions are accompanied by actions, making them accessible to Visual, Kinetic and English Language Learners.

 

Residencies

 

Make your students the stars of the show as they grow in creativity and confidence.  Under the direction of a mime artists, they will create a presentation that is uniquely their own.  Residencies can be arranged during a classroom period during the school day or as part of an after-school program.

Grades for which we recommend these residencies are listed below each title.

 

Mime Theatre

5-12

An artist instructs the students in the dynamics of silent acting, wordless storytelling & the art of illusions. Students collaborate, create and present stories of their own in the final show.

Say What?

7-12, Native Speakers & ELLs

What is the story of your life?  What conflicts do you want to see resolved?  If you have difficulty articulating your thoughts into words, can you act it out with your body?  This program, geared toward “at-risk” teens, takes them through a series of conflict resolution scenarios in which they play-act themselves and the people in their lives.

 

“By giving [our students] something universal like mime, we give them a way to express themselves that they can take anywhere.  Mime bridges literacy and language barriers.”

Ron Zappala, CONNECTIONS Program Coordinator/Head Counselor, San Diego City Schools

 

Living Storybook

5-8

The artist adapts a story for the stage and creates a play with the students.  Sets are spare, incorporating people as props, set pieces, narrators and sound effects. Students with poor reading skills are engaged in the story by becoming active participants in its telling.

 

Poetry Live! / ˇPoemas en Vivo!

3-6, Native Speakers & ELLs.

 

Bring your poetry to life!  Your students write and revise their own poems about the tropical rainforest based on what they see and read in picture books.  Poems are selected for presentation and, while a reader recites, other children portray the plants and animals in the text.  This is excellent for English Language Learners as all young poets write in the language of their choice.

 

            (As seen on ˇEn Vivo!, Time-Warner Cable, 7-18-2003)

 

Physics of Mime

5-8

(See workshop above.) Rather than a one-day workshop, the artist teaches the science behind the art form and trains the students to teach others. 

 

The Gold Rush

5-8

Bring California's history to life!  Your students get in touch with the folks who were there by acting out scene from their lives.  With a mixture of stories, songs and first-hand accounts, your students create the characters and stage pictures that tell the story. 

 

Performance Vignettes

 

Here are synopses of the stories we present.  Each vignette falls under one of the following headings.  We have found that audiences get the most out of assemblies that incorporate most –if not all- of these headings.  Themes, and the grades for which they are recommended, are listed below each title.  You select the topics that suit your curriculum.

 

Openers                                  Comedy with a message          Stories we can all relate to 

Stretching the imagination                                                      Red-Ribbon Week

 

OPENERS

 

ABSTRACT AMONGUS

K-12

Hang on to your hats; you’re going for a ride.  In our signature opening, the mimes move in syncopation, weaving together illusions, dance, animals’ antics and images of famous sculptures.  The audience stays focused and engaged, never knowing what’s coming next.

 

MATERIAL WHIRLED

K-12

It's amazing what you can do with just a bolt of cloth.  Fabric magically whirls into a parachute, the ocean, a staircase and more.  Twists and turns keep the audience on the edges of their seats, keeping their attention by exciting their imaginations.

 

Comedy with a message

 

TIMBER

(Perseverance) K-12

A lumberjack tests his mettle against a gigantic tree.  The relentless lumberjack upgrades his arsenal of tools, pulling each one from a magic carpetbag.  The tree stands, unmoved by his efforts; until the lumberjack's persistence finally pays off.

           

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE

(Friendship and sharing) K-12

Vaudeville comes back to life in this slapstick comedy.  Three hobos with nothing share everything until they have something to fight over.  This high-energy chase scene is reminiscent of the old silent movies and captivates audiences of all ages.

 

THE PARK

(Sharing) K-12

We have a scene at a bench in the park in which a little girl with bubble gum gets herself into a sticky situation.  A balloon salesman gets carried away with his wares, helping a pigeon with a broken wing to fly.  We break the fourth wall, inviting the audience to share in our illusions with a sly hobo who panhandles the crowd and a boy who plays catch with an invisible ball.  A pair of cantankerous senior citizens share a bench and learn that everything is more enjoyable when you share. 

  

BACK TO THE PARK

(Judging Others) K-12

This picks up where The Park left off.   A wily fly is our protagonist as he torments passers-by.  A slapstick silent movie style chase ensues and characters find love in unexpected places. Back to the Park is a sequel to the first, but can also stand on its own as an independent sketch. 

 

STORIES WE CAN ALL RELATE TO     

 

IT DIDN’T HAVE TO END LIKE THIS

(Fighting) 4-12

A chance encounter between two rivals turns ugly.  A challenge is given and neither side wants to look weak by backing down.  A shoving match escalates into a fist fight.  One pulls a knife; the other pulls a gun.  One is shot and the other is arrested.  We solicit from the audience positive alternatives to violence.  After taking several suggestions, we replay the scene with a different ending.

 

This scene can be very powerful.  It is not uncommon to hear audiences goad us on with chants of “fight, fight” at the start of the shoving match.  But as the fighting intensifies, they get very quiet.  We challenge students to think about their own actions and choices.

 

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

(Harassment & Self-Esteem) 4-12

Two bullies in white masks harass a girl who has difficulty reading. They taunt her with “stupid” signs until she accepts the moniker and hangs it around her neck. She is miserable until someone changes her sign from “stupid” to “wonderful.”  Accepting this new moniker, she stands straighter, finding new confidence in herself.  We challenge the audience to think about what they believe about themselves and what they say to others.

 

“…We could relate to the one where they were making fun of the girl. I think that everyone has been in that position once in their lifetime.”

Student, Mar Vista High School

 

 

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

Part 2

(Accepting yourself & others) 4-12

The “wonderful” girl meets a “freak”, obsessed with his art, who doesn’t fit in.  She tries to change him, but he doesn’t want to be changed. “Freak” suits him just fine.  After several trials, she finally learns to accept him as her “friend” without trying to change who he is.

 

WHOSE BALL IS IT ANYWAY?

(Excluding others) K-6

A boy is playing with his ball, but it would be more fun if he had someone to play with.  Two children pretend to play with him when they turn it into a game of keep-away that leaves him feeling hurt and rejected.  Another girl comes in who insists that everyone be included.  The children learn that the game is always more fun when everyone is in on it.

 

Stretching the imagination

 

Alfonse the Fly

K-12

It’s a nice day on the patio of Joe’s Coffee Shop.  People are sipping coffee while Patch the Hobo panhandles for a cup of java with a cardboard sign that reads “Will work for Latté.”  Patch sneaks a sip from a lady’s cup and adds sugar when she’s not looking.  When Joe orders Patch off the premises, Patch whistles for Alfonse the Fly.  Alfonse harasses Joe and the other customers who all go after this wily pest.  Stop action tells the tale in stage pictures worth thousands of words.

(If blackouts are not available with your stage lighting, we cue the audience to open and close their eyes at the sound of a bell.)

 

BOOM-BOOM-BA-KA

K-12

Our percussionist is beating out a rhythm on invisible drums. But things are not what they seem as the sticks make unexpected sounds of their own. The drum sticks control of the and our drummer is taken for a trip.

 

THE BUTTERFLY HUNTER

K-12

Students’ imaginations are challenged and excited as they follow the flutterings of an invisible butterfly being chased by a curious hunter. Once captured, the hunter swallows his quarry only to find that some insects are not so easily bested. The butterfly flutters throughout his body, looking for a way to escape.

 

 

The GIANT’S Magic Shoe Shop

K-12

Come in and browse.  In the Magic Shoe Shop of the Friendly Giant, each pair of shoes has its own personality. Beware, for they make the wearer dance to each shoe-pair's song.

           

THE GLOVES

4-12

What is the price of vanity? A man enamored with his own image gets pulled away from his beloved mirror by a knock at the door.  Upon answering, he finds only an empty pair of gloves.  When he dons the gloves, they come to life.  Mischief turns to hostility as the man must defend himself against his own hand. 

 

The Gum

K-12

Chewing gum is nice in your mouth, but not in your hair, hands or feet.  One little lady who likes her chewing gum a little too much gets herself into a very sticky situation. 

In memory of the great Red Skelton whose antics gave laughter and inspiration to millions.

 

HANDS IN THE AIR

4-12

Enjoy a treat of the mystery and grace of abstract mime. Two white-gloved hands chase each other in mid-air in a fluid dance of illusion.  Students are challenged to “see” with their minds’ eyes and are amazed at their own ability to do so.

 

MAN  VS BALL

K-12

A simple ball takes on a life of its own and won’t cooperate with its player.  It is heavy like a weight, then light as a hot-air balloon.  It gets caught in thin air and refuses to budge. It is man’s struggle with the world.

 

NEIMAN MARCUS

K-12

It seems like an ordinary night in the department store.  The dresser finishes dressing the mannequins, but something seems amiss as the mannequins start to move. What do they want and what is the poor dresser to do?

           

THE ROPE

K-12

The illusion of pulling a rope is one of the mainstays in any mime's bag of tricks.  But this rope has some unexpected twists and turns as the story unravels.

 

TIDBITS

K-12

A conglomeration of works put together that highlight the Mime illusions. Its essence is to impress and entertain.  

 

What’s in the box?

Our goals seem just out of reach.  This is one mime’s struggle with illusory obstacles that stand between her and her coveted box.  When she finally reaches it, what’s in the box is a message for all.  (The specific message can be tailored to meet your school’s theme.)

 

RED-RIBBION WEEK

These stories, important year round, are especially helpful for Red-Ribbon Week.  Rather than preach at them, we engage the audience with scenarios that dramatize the behaviors and their consequences.  Students are challenged to examine their own attitudes and behaviors.  Some of these stories are true come out of our own lives.   

 

 

 

YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU TRY

(Smoking) K-12

Young people are impressed by this true story of Rosemarie’s struggle to kick a twenty-five year smoking habit.  Non-smokers are discouraged from smoking, and smokers are encouraged to quit knowing that, like her, they really can succeed.

 

“[Rosemarie] capitalized on the real strength of mime, which is to go to the core of human movement and expression....  With the slightest change of expression or a disdainful flick of the hand, she conveyed a complex set of emotions and motivations, and made us realize how much we have learned since childhood to read from each human gesture.”

* From a review by Devorah Knaff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5-28-1998

 

YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS

(Drugs) 4-12

Marijuana and a little peer pressure seem harmless enough at the time.  Giggles and euphoria come with the high.  Then we take the audience on a bad trip, going from the realistic to the surreal.  One boy extracts the other’s brain and they play catch with it.  A long pass and a fumbled brain leave our recreational drug users hollow shells staring into space. Slow motion and stylized movement bring home a strong message.

 

“I thought that we could all relate to those students up on stage who, by their peers, get involved.”

Student, Mar Vista High School

 

YOU ARE SMARTER THAN THIS

(Alcohol) 4-12

A little drink never killed anybody, or so they think as four kids at a sleep-over engage in a drinking game to prove their pluck and keep themselves amused.  The game ends badly with a case of blood alcohol poisoning and a frantic call to 9-1-1.

 

 

TURN OF THE CRANK

(Addiction/Methamphetamine) 6-12

The cycle of addiction turns ugly, as our protagonist becomes addicted to methamphetamine.  His highs get shorter and his downs worsen as he gives up everything to satisfy his habit.  In the end, he is faced with the choice between his addiction and a chance at recovery.


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