Workshop Session 7 – Improvising in the CAN offices

This week there was a gas leak at Federation House, where we usually have our workshops. The workshop was thus moved to the CAN offices. Due to the short notice the organisers had to improvise in the much smaller offices. Seeing as we’re only 3 months from the final show, there is no time to waste!  Sara and Leah took the opportunity of having everyone seated around one table to show the participants the Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts of the LISAPO Project. Leah also showed some she had been doing. She played one of the videos she had mixed using the footage filmed during the first workshop.

Seating in the CAN meeting room the participants listen to Sara and Leah

Seating in the CAN meeting room the participants listen to Sara and Leah

Sara plays the video montage from the first workshop

Sara plays the video montage from the first workshop

This week, we also met the new digital artist, Gary Stewart, who will be joining Leah and the others working on the digital media side of the project. Gary introduced himself by showing some of his previous digital art work, such as Wall Ball and Probosis story weir. 

Cheryl “challenged” Gary to demonstrate what he could bring to the project to the participants. Gary called up volunteers amongst the participants then explained the concept of mapping. With 3 volunteering participants, he attempted to match the speed of the video on the screen (a video of knitting female hands) to the rhythm of a song sang by Emmanuela.

Gary explains the concept of mapping

Gary explains the concept of mapping

After Gary’s successful demonstration, the participants were divided into 3 groups: Singing/dancing, Acting/writing and Drums. Emmanuela and Tyndale lead the singing and dancing work shop in the meeting room on the second floor, Cheryl the acting and writing workshop in the studio and the corridors of the 1st floor and Pat the drums workshop in the waiting room of the CAN offices on the 1st floor.

On the 2nd floor, Tyndale began with some vocal warm ups and breathing exercises. After a few songs led by Tyndale, Emmanuela followed leading with the sounds of “War, Destruction…” from earlier workshops.  The participants are getting the grip of it! Without much direction they join Emmanuela and sing along. Emmanuela gives some tips to the ladies for the final show. They will not need to shout on the day as they will be wearing microphones. Emmanuela reminded them that is important to “sing like ladies” and “control their voice”.

Emmanuela leads the "War, destruction.." song while Gary captures some images

Emmanuela leads the “War, destruction..” song while Gary captures some images

On the 1st floor, Cheryl asked the participants to act up some of the scenes of the stories they had read the week before. In groups of three the participants spit in the corridors of CAN to practice before performing in front of Cheryl, Peggy, Gary and the other participants and volunteer. One of the participants volunteered her writing talents and proposed to write about the acting and writing workshop.  Big thanks to Fazila Bhimji.

Fazila writing for the blog.

Fazila writing for the blog.

First Group:

ACT 1

The three participants stood in a line.  They acted out their parts. One of the women, Tiffany, is running, and the other two are on the floor – pretending to be dead. The woman is jumping over dead bodies.

ACT 2

The woman then finds a kitchen where she finds two people who are having dinner. The names of Congolese food were announced. The acts were then concluded.

Second group:

The second group performed a scene in a market, where Angie was selling fish. A couple walks past and wants to buy fish. They wanted it cheap – but it was good fish! So she did not want to sell it at a lower price. The scene is based on one of the stories of a boy who was the oldest in the family, and who wanted to help his family selling in the market. The scene was acted out with much empathy, where at one point Angie said, ‘I don’t sell fried fish, I sell fresh fish. Go home and fry it yourself’ with the Congolese gestures.

Scene at the market - The Fish man (woman) and the couple trying to buy some fish

Scene at the market – The Fish man (woman) and the couple trying to buy some fish and bargaining to reduce the price

Third group:

The third group performed a scene with a mean husband who talked down to his wives. He has several wives. The wives are seen working. He wanted the money they had earned at the market that day. He announces to them that he will get another wife. The wives didn’t say much but after he left the scene they complained.

The husband come to collect "his" money from his two wives

The husband come to collect “his” money from his two wives

While the group were practicing, Peggy intervened and advised the actors to use more gestures, speak louder and use some Lingala words as Congolese would.

In the waiting “room” of CAN, the percussionists took the smaller cosier space. Pat played some video from his phone to demonstrate the Afro beats and Congolese beats.

The percussionists getting some inspiration from the videos

The percussionists getting some inspiration from videos of Afro beats

Next week, it’s the auditions for the final show. Times flies!

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