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...and compare our two Odysseus' begging for help (above and below) - which looks more wretched to you? (answer: neither - they're both having far too much fun!)
Odysseus Unwound - Education and Outreach
19 October 2006:
With one session with each group, we embarked on the challenge of creating a mini-opera within the two-hour session.
The story started with Odysseus and his travails, including the whirlpool (Charybdis), the blinding of Polyphemus, Circe turning his men to pigs, and the Sirens, before being shipwrecked on a strange island of fire. This was where we brought Odysseus to meet the Norse legend of Surtr the Fire Giant, on his island of Muspelheim. Odysseus, exhausted and with no possessions left, begs Surtr for help to get home, but, infuriated by Odysseus' treatment of his kin giant Polyphemus, Surtr refuses and sets fire to his palace in his anger, starting Ragnarök (the battle at the end of the world).
This provided a structure for our mini-opera: the beginning, with all the pupils together beating out the fire-giant rhythm from hush to a roar and back to a hush again, followed by scenes acted out by small groups, then back together for the "battle at the end of the world" chorus finale:
After the introductions and warm-up exercises, learning the "battle at the end of the world" chorus also acted as a good ice-breaker before the workshop was divided into three groups, each taking one story to create in separate rooms.
After group work, they all came together to show each other what they had created, before the break.
After the break everyone learnt the fire giant rhythm together, then put the finishing touches to their stories in groups, before coming back together again to perform the whole mini-opera, with percussion instruments, voice, mime, acting and the clever use of a chair, a bench and two red scarves!