20 April 2005

Calgary school shows

Yesterday and today I performed in the two school shows, one at Richmond Elementary School in a residential neighbourhood of Calgary, the other at Chestermere Secondary School about 10 minutes outside town on the Trans-Canada. They both went well, but I had quite different audiences for the two performances: at Richmond, the kids looked to be about 9-10 (I know, it's appalling that I can't say for sure; they were small, though), while at Chestermere they must have been between 14 and 17. About 50 students in the audience at Richmond, and perhaps 150-180 at Chestermere.

For the young kids, the key thing was to abandon anything harsh and forbidding about the performance style (i.e. no "song tones" or quasi-chanting -- just plain metrical storytelling in my normal voice). Also, I managed to compress the story down to under 20 minutes, which was key. We had questions before and after -- extremely interesting ones, I may say: what bright kids -- and I think I held their attention completely after the first two or three minutes (it always takes an audience some time to adapt their minds to the meter, and then they're hooked).

At Chestermere, with older students, it was more difficult to guage what they would like; also, whereas I'd been in a fully lit room (the library) at Richmond, here I was in the gym with the lights on me and the audience in darkness. In some ways it's easier not to see the audience, but the intimacy of a fully lit room is also nice; hard to say which is better, as fundamentally different as the two spaces (lit and non-lit) are. Anyway, the Chestermere show today also went well, though I felt very tired by the end; I'm looking forward to a brief break as we head to Saskatoon. I also signed some autographs!

The technical end of things, both in terms of setting up sound and light and in terms of video recording, is going so well. Dave has really mastered all this stuff, and I'm so grateful for his untiring labour: I don't know how this Tour could happen without it.

Here are some snapshots of the Chestermere show:

[getting ready for the show]

[speaking in character]

[I think this is the description of the "solemn Ottawa" (the First Nation, not the town poised for the PM's sudden Party Political)]

["Behold, the bright red blood flowed forth : and spilled across his coat and clothes"]

Update: I forgot to mention that there are a few pics of our trip through the Mountains, added below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack-

Your voice sounds wonderful on the video clips that you posted, rich but at the same time supple and versatile. I love the spot-light photos; you look at home on the stage.