Working Together: Impressions of Stage Time and Juice and R4

161204 1st Aesops rehearsal 2 from Red Room on Vimeo.

Ruth Landowne Giordano recently shared with us her impressions about leading the 5-week workshop to produce “Aesop’s Fables,” the second dramatic collaboration between Red Room Radio Redux and Stage Time and Juice. (The first one, “Jack and the Beanstalk” was presented at the anniversary celebrations just this past November.)

Ruth traditionally works with an adult cast to produce radio adaptations of classic literary tales such as “Dracula,” “Treasure Island,” and “A Christmas Carol.” She believes storytelling is an important way to keep alive certain aspects of culture, and to also teach valuable lessons. Her decision to involve children in the storytelling was because “children can bring a lot of imagination and energy to the performance.”

This is the first time she has worked with a bi-lingual group of children, with varying levels of proficiency in the English language. She selected Aesop’s tales and “The Little Red Hen” because she assumed that the children would have some degree of familiarity with these stories. Some of the children felt a little intimidated with speaking out in a less familiar language. Ruth worked around this by teaching them to express the story through body movements and sounds other than words. “All around I wanted it to be a playful time.” She hopes that the exercises that she took them through will open up alternatives to the more “reticent” kids.

When asked what she might do differently next time, she said she would not hold the workshop over such an extended period of time (five weeks with a two-week break for Christmas in between) because precious momentum is lost. She would also think more about how she can reach out to the children who might have confidence issues, working around her own pressure to meet a performance deadline.

Happily, Ruth is already dreaming about what the next production might be. Make sure you follow us on the Stage Time and Juice Facebook page, so that you don’t miss the next development!

by Carol Yao

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