Loyal, Brave, and Strong: Argonautika Workshop at Provo City Library

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

The cast after the costume parade & showing off the amazing set!

We are about to set sail, and we hope that you can join us! Argonautika opens at the end of the week, Friday, June 2 at 7:30 pm. We perform in the Pardoe Theater in the Harris Fine Arts Center on Campus. See you there! For tickets, visit:  http://arts.byu.edu/event/argonautika/2017-06-16/

To advertise and promote the production to the community, the cast of Argonautika presented a workshop to in the ballroom at the Provo City Library on Monday, May 15 from 7:00 – 7:45 pm.

Professor and artistic director Megan Sanborn Jones helped facilitate, and students Kindi Nybo and Taylor Stroupe were the workshop presenters. These two will also be workshop instructors at the Lunch and Learn events before certain matinees of the play.

Here, Hylas and Hercules introduce themselves and show off their awesome handshake and chest bump to top it off!

First, the cast performed the roll call from Act 1 of the play, wherein all Argonaut voyagers are introduced to the audience through a fun rap, right before they set sail on the Argo ship. Here is the order of the characters introduced in the roll call:

  • Idmon
  • Meleager
  • Castor and Pollux
  • Tiphys
  • Hercules
  • Hylas
  • Atalanta
  • Uncle (to Meleager)
  • Jason
  • Many others get mentioned, but they are not characters in the play

Below is a video of the Shakespeare Theatre Company (one of the first productions of the play, and directed by the playwright, Mary Zimmerman) performing the roll call.

Then, since our show is very visual, and the many characters possess very different characteristics, the cast decided to select 6 characters (3 boys and 3 girls) and describe each with one strong adjective. They also assigned an action/gesture to each one. Then the audience would stand up and perform the action along with the actors.

The 6 Characters & Descriptions:

Medea was clever.

Atalanta was determined.

Hylas was loyal.

Athena was a leader.

Jason was brave.

Hercules was strong.

Acting like dogs for the word, “loyalty,” based on a child’s suggestion.

They were asked to come up with other actions to depict the six adjectives. For example, a kneel and a hand over the heart resembled loyalty for Hylas, yet a child in the audience came up with a dog also being a symbol of loyalty. So everyone acted like dogs! Lastly, Kindi and Taylor asked the children to describe a time when they felt like they possessed these different character descriptions, and to share the story with the group.

 

Here, the cast and workshop presenters are demonstrating the action for “determined”, which describes Atalanta. Cast members not featured dispersed through the audience and performed the actions with the audience, as Devin and Christine are doing here.

The second portion of the workshop involved the audience and cast splitting into two groups and creating their own roll call, and then sharing them on stage at the end. This is also an activity that you can do on your own in the program study guide when you come to the show.

Costner, performing his opening portion of the roll call as Idmon, the blind prophet (thus the sunglasses).

The cast taught the audience how to say the roll call in rhythm, and together they filled in the blanks with new ideas and descriptions. Here is a sample from the play, and the blank template they used, which will be in your study guide:

Sample

Sha-boo-ya! Ya! Ya! Sha-boo-ya, roll call!

Sha-boo-ya! Ya! Ya! Sha-boo-ya, roll call!

My name is Idmon. (Yeah!)

I see the future. (Yeah!)

But don’t forget that… (Yeah!)

I could also hurt you. (Roll call!)

 

Your Turn:

Sha-boo-ya! Ya! Ya! Sha-boo-ya, roll call!

Sha-boo-ya! Ya! Ya! Sha-boo-ya, roll call!

My name is _______________________________________________ (Yeah!)

_________________________________________________________ (Yeah!)

_________________________________________________________ (Yeah!)

_________________________________________________________ (Roll call!)

 

One group came up with the following stanza for the roll call: 

“Our name is food (Yeah!)

We like to eat it! (Yeah!)

Pizza’s our favorite! (Yeah!)

We always need it! (Roll call!)”

After the groups performed their roll calls, Professor Jones, Kindi, and Taylor summed up the actions for the six characters one last time, and encouraged everyone to come see the show!

OVERHEARD IN THE CROWD:  The cast describes their experience at the workshop.

Cast member Samm Madsen had the support of her husband and daughter when performing the actions and gestures of the characters on the Argo.

Christine Detweiler: “When Jason said he yoked two fire-breathing bulls, the kid behind me said, ‘Yeah, well I could have done three!'”

 

Costner Henson: “I sat by three kids who weren’t sure if I was actually blind. I told them I could see with magic. Two of them seemed like they felt a little too old or a little too cool to do the poses. But the third kid was all over it. He loved doing the poses!”

 

Olivia Ockey: “I had two little girls come to me after and tell me how much they loved Greek mythology and they were so excited to see the show. They actually knew who Medea was, which caught me off guard. It was a nice reminder that we’re doing a show with stories and characters that people already know and love, and it’s exciting to provide them a new twist to the myth.”

Daughter of Professor Jones, performing the Hylas gesture for loyalty.

 

Courtney Dilmore: “When we broke up into groups, I was next to a small quiet kid. He was very shy at first but when we put one of the instruments in his hand, he came alive. It was nice to see his face light up, dance, and take part. When Atalanta stepped up in the role call, two older girls screamed ‘YEAH!’ and they put their hands out for a high five.”

 

Well there you have it! We hope you will continue to support events at the Provo Library, and college theatre at BYU. The Provo Library will also have a virtual library at the matinee performances (June 3, 8, 10, 16, 17 at 2 pm) so that you can check out books on mythology, or anything you desire! Furthermore, the lobby display will be covered with similar books from the Harold B. Lee Library on campus. But more on that next week.

As a teaser for the next blog, can you guess what Greek mythology has to do with…stars?

 

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