Reeling it all In: Scrapbooking My Favorite “Fisherman” Moments

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg (While the BYU production is closed, The Fisherman and His Wife is still busy touring at local elementary schools. There will also 1 FREE performances at the Orem library, 11/10 at 7 pm. Monday night was the Provo library performance. Here’s me and the cast at the end of an incredible performance to a packed house in the library ballroom.) IMG_2207_2 As my last blog post, I would like to commemorate some of my favorite moments from the show by displaying a few fabulous production photos from a September performance at BYU, accompanied by some of my thoughts. Enjoy! Continue reading

From Preview to Performance: Actor Images and Interviews

by Haley Flanders, Dramaturg    

(While the BYU production is closed, The Fisherman and His Wife is still busy touring at local elementary schools. There will also be two FREE performances at the Provo and Orem libraries. Details below.)

I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of the actors of The Fisherman and His Wife over the past 7+ months by looking back at the beginning through images, and showcasing their experiences through recent interviews. Here are pictures from the show’s first preview in April.

IMG_7897

This is from the beginning of the play, where everyone recited the play’s title together. (Note: the role of kokken 2 was played by Stacy Wilk originally, but was performed by Rachel Belt for the actual production due to complications with Stacy’s schedule.) Continue reading

Scenery in Motion: Production Design Elements

By Haley Flanders, dramaturg

(While the BYU production is closed, The Fisherman and His Wife is still busy touring at local elementary schools. There will also be two FREE performances at the Provo and Orem libraries. Details below)

One of the most captivating elements of this production of The Fisherman and His Wife is the brilliant way the fairytale characters come to life onstage through movement, costume, and masks. While the play’s plot is quite simple and repetitive, the hour-long performance remains engaging due to the physical elements, both in the actors’ movement and their appearance.

On Sept. 29, the production team presented their work to the TMA 160 (Theatre Production 1) class. Here are some highlights:IMG_1548

Director Néstor Bravo Goldsmith desired the show to look like scenery in motion: the dramatic movement of the characters, the flowing design of the sea creatures’ tie-dyed costumes, the audience pantomiming the waves, the fisherman’s cape during blowing during the thunderstorm, etc. It was also important to him that the show remain entertaining and surprising at each turn. Many things were added to the script, yet others were removed. For example… Continue reading

“Waves of Wishes” Lobby Display

By Haley Flanders, dramaturg

On October 11, The Fisherman and His Wife completed their final performance at BYU (don’t worry – they will continue to perform at libraries and elementary schools throughout the semester). I was in attendance at this show, and was excited to see an almost sold-out crowd! The audience was enthusiastic and loved taking part in the narrative through sound and action.

Since the play contains fun elements of audience participation, I decided to make a lobby display that also encouraged the audience to interact with the story. The display had a table with markers and notepads shaped like fish. On the ground was a small pool, which I called “Waves of Wishes.” The poem on the poster gave further instructions…

Waves of wishes copy“Choose your most desired wish. Then write it on an enchanted fish.
Place it in this magical sea. Will your wish come true?
Just wait and see!”

The lobby display remained outside the Nelke Theatre for the entire run of the show, and received HUNDREDS of fish wishes from students during the day, and audience members of all ages at each performance! Continue reading

An Interview with Guest Director Néstor Bravo Goldsmith

By Haley Flanders, dramaturg

nestor 5Néstor Bravo Goldsmith is the guest director for The Fisherman and His Wife. He is an accomplished Chilean theater director, performer and theater professor. He earned a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance of the Americas from Arizona State University, and received his M.A. in theatre and media arts from Brigham Young University. He also has an MFA in Directing at the Universidad de Chile. To understand more about his vision for this production, I asked him the following questions:

Haley Flanders: What are your special areas of training? 

Nestor Bravo Goldsmith: As a performer I have been trained in a variety of methodologies and techniques, from Stanislavski to Barba, as well as in acrobatics, Commedia dell’ arte, mask, and corporeal mime. Also, I have formal training in directing.

Néstor as a mime.

HF: How did you use your skills in directing this production? 

NBG: All those methodologies and techniques I name above are present in this show to some degree. Nevertheless, corporeal mime has been applied extensible on the show, even on Isabel who is the most realistic character of all. This production was staged for touring at different schools, therefore the mise-en-scene not only has to be simple and practical, but also visually attractive and entertaining for large young audiences. Thus, we have to dilate the body of the actor, stylize their movements, and corporeal mime helps us in that regard. Besides, the dramatic action of the play takes place in different locations and dwellings –at the seashore, in a hut, a cottage, and three different castles–, how can we create those places in a practically empty stage? Here, physical theatre comes again to help us, although with the complicity of the audience. Our most important resource we count on for this show is the spectator’s imagination. Through acting, beautiful costumes, simple setting and just few props we invite our audience to co-author the show imagining, and sometimes enacting the sea shore, a big storm, a humble hut, as well as a lavish castle. Continue reading

Meet the Cast of “The Fisherman and His Wife”: Storyteller and the Kokken

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Fisherman and His Wife is currently up and running on BYU’s Nelke stage. To celebrate our production, we wanted to give you the chance to get to know the cast that is bringing this story to life. You can meet the Fisherman and his wife, Isabel, here. You can also meet the Flounder and the Seahorse here. Today, we finish up our introductions with the Storyteller and the Kokken.

IMG_1267Name: Mariah Bowles

Character: Storyteller

If you could have a supernatural helper, what would you have? I would definitely want a fairy godmother. A genie in a lamp limits your number of wishes, and the last time I caught a magic flounder it took weeks to get that fish smell off my hands.

What would you wish for? I’d wish for an increased amount of love for others. A yacht wouldn’t be bad either.

What is the overall message of this play? The person we become is determined by what we chose to set our hearts on. We all have the potential for goodness or evil, but who we become is a result of what we’ve sought to surround ourselves with.

What has this message taught you? It has taught me to be grateful for the things that I have, and to focus on those aspects of my life that are most important. It’s also taught me that I have the potential to make the mistakes Isabel did. However, I can avoid that by choosing each day to go after what is right.

What was your favorite part of working on this show? Working with and learning from our fantastic director, cast, crew, and collaborators! I’ve grown a lot from the insights they’ve given me, not only as an actress, but as a person. Continue reading

Meet the Cast of “The Fisherman and His Wife”: Flounder and Seahorse

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Fisherman and His Wife is currently up and running on BYU’s Nelke stage. To celebrate our production, we wanted to give you the chance to get to know the cast that is bringing this story to life. You can meet the Fisherman and his wife, Isabel, here. Check back tomorrow for the rest of the cast!

IMG_1275Name: Ross Wilcox

Character: Flounder

If you could have a supernatural helper, what would you have? After learning from this show that you have to be careful what you wish for, I would be hesitant to have a supernatural helper that offered me any wishes. I think I would rather have some kind of fairy godmother or wise mentor that appears and tells me exactly what to do with my life every time I’m faced with a difficult decision, because so far I still don’t have a clue.

What would you wish for? To be able to do whatever I want in life (support a family, work, take on hobbies and projects), without ever having to worry about money. Not that I want a lot of money; I would just have it not be such a stressful part of life.

What is the overall message of this play? Be grateful for what you have. Happiness comes from the people, not the things, in our lives. Alternately, be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true.

What has this message taught you? This play has taught me that wishes, without work, only lead to dissatisfaction. It’s not bad to have desires and aspirations, but unlimited gratification can never satisfy the soul’s need for honest achievement.

What was your favorite part of working on this show? I love how playful the show is. As an actor, I felt like I was able to grow tremendously, taking risks and using techniques I’ve never used before. I also loved the ensemble feel of the show. We all got to know each other very well, and every rehearsal felt like coming home. Continue reading

Meet the Cast of “The Fisherman and His Wife”: Fisherman and Isabel

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Fisherman and His Wife is currently up and running on BYU’s Nelke stage. To celebrate our production, we wanted to give you the chance to get to know the cast that is bringing this story to life. Check back over the next few days to meet the rest of these talented students.

IMG_1270Name:  Brandon Luke Bringhurst

Character: The Fisherman

If you could have a supernatural helper, what would you have? I’ve always thought the Blue Fairy from Disney’s Pinocchio would be awesome!

What would you wish for? The ability to be in several places at once.

What is the overall message of this play? True happiness doesn’t come from power or possession; it’s found in the home and the people we love.

What has this message taught you? We often want so many things, from our casual pleasures to our deepest desires. But I learned in this show that finding that happiness inside myself can become a rich treasure that neither money or magic can give.

What was your favorite part of working on this show? I learned so many techniques from our brilliant director (Nestor Bravo Goldsmith) that helped me develop this character and communicate emotion to the audience. That learning process was definitely my favorite part.  Of course, none of it would be possible without this wonderful cast and production crew!  I’ve really grown to love them so much! Continue reading

Games and Activities Inspired by the Fishy, Wishful Tale (Part 2)

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

REMINDER: THE PLAY OPENS THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 AT 7 PM IN THE NELKE THEATRE!

fishOver the past couple weeks, the cast of The Fisherman and His Wife has been participating in workshops with Teresa Love, an adjunct professor at BYU who teaches theatre for the elementary classroom, storytelling, and adapts many of the TYA plays performed on the BYU stage. (Fun fact: She wrote the script to BYU’s most recent mainstage play, The Selfish Giant.) Through games and exercises, she helped the actors construct a post-show interactive workshop for the 3rd graders. The workshops will take place after the students have seen the show performed at their elementary school.

In the image below, the cast collaborated to create a frozen image of the emotions and themes that depict the play’s storyline:

CONTENT, POSSIBILITIES, DESIRE, UNSATISFIED, REVERSED, HAPPY.statue 3Based on this image, the cast formulated 3 different games to play with the 3rd graders:

1) “Day Time, Night Time” (Adaptation of “Red light, Green light”): This game depicts the exhausting amount of energy exerted by the fisherman as he went back and forth to the seashore, day after day, to ask the flounder to grant his wife’s many wishes. It also demonstrates how tiring it was for the flounder and his seahorse assistant to constantly fulfill someone else’s selfish demands. It is as if Isabel was controlling their every move, telling them when to stop…and go! The cast practiced teaching this to the students by playing them together (image below).

IMG_12942) “Tidal Wave!” (Adaptation of “Captain’s Coming!”): The game depicts the many physical movements that the actors and audience do together during the show. The students listen for the name of an action and a number, and must do the action with that number of students: bow to the queen (image below), cluck like chickens, quack like ducks, etc. If they cannot complete this task, they are out.

IMG_12813) Pass the Present: This activity requires a lot of pantomime. The students imagine what they would wish for if THEY found an enchanted fish that could grant wishes. Then in a circle, they take turns miming the actions of opening a present containing the thing that they would wish for (like an umbrella, in the image below), playing with that object, putting it back in the box, and passing it to the next person in the circle. This teaches them to practice their miming skills (a major element in the show) and to experience having their wish granted, just like the title characters of the play.

IMG_1241The process of picking these games required the cast to play MANY other games, such as “Human Knot”, which addressed many of the play’s chosen themes, such as possibilities, desire, reversing, and being unsatisfied (they were not able to untie their human knot). Below, Teresa observes as the cast experiences many of the emotions and struggles felt by the characters in the play, always coaxing them to tie these lessons to the messages they desire audiences to learn as they watch The Fisherman and His Wife.IMG_1234

Games and Activities Inspired by this Fishy, Wishful Tale (Part 1)

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Welcome!

6258712-MOne of the unique privileges of dramaturging a Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production is the chance to create a teacher’s packet for the elementary teachers who plan on bringing their class to the show when it tours to their school. I therefore had the challenging, yet rewarding opportunity to present the history, themes, structure, and enticing staging elements of The Fisherman and His Wife in a way that would equally excite and educate Kindergarten through 4th grade students. I would like to share some of the games and activity ideas I chose – ones you can play after taking your youngsters to the show. After all, theatre can be entertaining AND educational at the same time!

MAJOR THEME: Be Careful What You Wish For.

GAME: Mad Libs (Visit www.madlibs.com for some prompts.)

Isabel’s wishes have a dramatic effect on the events of the entire story. Her simple choice of words changes her whole world over and over again, and her personality and relationship with the fisherman is greatly altered due to her greedy wishes. This game emphasizes the importance of choices within a story, and how words can lead to great consequences. It also encourages the students to wish for certain events to happen, and to make it so. Yet much like the fisherman and Isabel, who were never instantly aware of the consequences of their choices, the students will not know the result of their word wishes until the entire story is read aloud. Then much like the fisherman returning home from the seashore to see how crazy his life has become, the students will see how crazy their story has become by their many choices!

ACTIVITY: Draw a picture of what you would wish for if you were the fisherman, happening upon an enchanted flounder that can grant wishes.

HISTORY: Adaptation in Storytelling

GAME: Telephone

Since The Fisherman and His Wife is a fairytale collected and written down by the Brothers Grimm, it is possible that these brothers changed it from the way they first heard it on their travels. This game represents how stories are heard, adapted, and passed down throughout time, often experiencing changes as different people hear and tell the story to fit their own interpretation in that time and place.

ACTIVITY: Write your OWN adaptation of a popular fairytale

The basic plot of The Fisherman and His Wife—a magical fish granting wishes to a poor married couple—can be found in folklore from other countries throughout history. Moreover, the Brothers Grimm did not come up with any of their fairytales on their own. Sometimes they read it in other formats, such as poems, then wrote their own version for their collection. Sometimes they heard a story and scribed what they remembered, or what they understood. Today, tons of fairytales are still adapted and altered for books, television, movies, and cartoons, in order to fit today’s setting. This activity is a fun way to challenge your students’ creativity and imagination, and see how they choose to adapt these fairytales for today’s audiences.

But I’m not the only one with the challenge to create learning activities for the students. 

Check back to see what workshops the cast is working on to take to the 3rd grade classrooms!