Sharing the World of Aliens
Posted 5 June 2018 12:00 AM by Jaronzie Harris
Our final performance of Aliens!!! at the Josiah Quincy was one we were all proud of. The young people ultimately told a story of Aliens from three different planets who were characterized by personalities and physicalities that were particular to their specific planet. These attributes were developed through improvisations that we’d discovered and explored through improvisations over the course of the residency. While these distinctions made the Aliens really unique (some were tall, some highly imaginative, some could control fire and ice), they also came with limitations. Ultimately, in order for the Aliens to live their best lives, they were going to have to help each other.
Rehearsals that led up to the big day were comprised of some of the typical components that you might expect, ie. reminding students to speak up and not drop important lines, but something that was not typical was the amount of raised hands and student led discussion on ways to improve the effectiveness of their own storytelling. “We should stand on our tip toes on that line”, “We have to make sure we all stay together for the dance”. The Aliens from the Sun, Planet X and Planet Z had come together to solve collective problems through an authentic, reflective practice and they were owning their artwork!
At the end of the performance, an auditorium packed with Josiah Quincy students, staff and family members were asked questions about the problems the characters needed to solve. Hands shot into the air faithfully. “They were running out of food”. “There were bugs everywhere!” Not only had our plot been communicated successfully, but students were engaged in the challenges presented by the story.
All in all, this was a thoughtful, growth-filled process and production that showcased the imaginations and interests of our students. We stayed true to themes of reflection in our conception and saw that materialize in our rehearsal culture and practice. Students that had been hesitant to speak at the beginning of the process found voices in their characters and the class as a whole was able to collaborate on a production that invited an entire school into a world they created. Did we mention that the Aliens rap?