norway odyssey

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Odysseus Unwound - Education and Outreach

18 October 2006:
Klepp, Fredheimsloftet
(x4 schools) - 42 year 9 students (14/15 year olds)

On October 18 the basic workshop programme was used for a double session workshop combining four schools in the Klepp Kommune. A total of 42 Year 9 pupils (13 -14 year olds) took part. At the request of the youth arts coordinator for these schools, we tailored this day's work to offer useful skills, techniques and guidelines for the students' work writing and performing in their own new operas. Entitled 'Opera-Circus' the young people had created skeleton storylines and received training in circus tricks such as juggling and plate spinning.

Using our 'Odysseus in the Land of the Fire Giants' model we constructed a workshop that demonstrated all the elements required to make a successful, impactful and original drama. The Odyssey story and our new Norse episodes were explained in the following context:-

SHORT EXPOSITION (beginning) - a short punchy opening scene
THE HOOK - what keeps your audience interested? - create exciting drama!
OBSTACLES - how are these overcome? How foes this affect the characters?
THE REVEAL - secrets uncovered, a twist in the plot - how revealed? How do they affect the story?
CONCLUSION - how the story ends - everyone happy or do some some suffer?

The workshop was divided into ensemble and smaller group work. A greater weighting was given to drama over music at the request of the local staff. As this was a double session we were able to incorporate this extra training in acting and the expression of emotions without losing the high level of musical content planned in our model.

There were some brilliant individual efforts amongst the students both musically and dramatically as well as supportive teamwork throughout a long and intensive day. Many of the young people were able to include their new found circus skills in their compositions-most notably in a scene in the palace of the Fire Giant King Surtr, where the giants were entertained by the court jesters. Those circus performers finding favour with the five giants were spared, whilst the unsuccessful ones were dispatched by the ruthless 'jotuns'.

The end results were exceptional, amply demonstrating how their own imaginations could produce exciting results in a very few hours.



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