by Haley Flanders, dramaturg
REMINDER: THE PLAY OPENS THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 AT 7 PM IN THE NELKE THEATRE!
Over 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:
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).
2) “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.
3) 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.
The 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.