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Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs atyp & Riverside Theatre Production May 2011

Teacher's Resource Kit Photo: Angelo Sgambati


atyp is exclusively devoted to young people. We are driven by the idea that the arts can inspire creative, courageous and confident young people wherever they are and whatever they want to be. We believe that the arts have the power to transform lives, enrich communities and ultimately impact upon the future of our nation. Our work is motivated by the need to improve access for all young Australians to share their stories and participate in the arts regardless of economic or geographical barriers. Our Vision: to be the leading Australian youth theatre company, inspiring and nurturing imagination, confidence and creativity in young people across the country. At the heart of our company lies collaboration between professional artists and young people. Working together we create inspiring theatre that engages with contemporary social issues and provides a space for young people to celebrate their creativity and Rise Up and Act! Above all, atyp inspires young people to make great theatre.

“Riverside Theatres offers the chance to be entertained…Not a day goes by when there isn’t something new and exciting happening at Riverside” Robert Love – Riverside Theatres Director Home to over 600 shows every year, Riverside Theatres offers an exciting variety of professional live theatre, dance, comedy, film and musical performances. Riverside‟s relaxing courtyard is the perfect space to unwind with a drink before heading into one of our three theatres for a night of friends, fun, fiction and fantasy!

As the leading entertainment venue in Greater Sydney, and located along the river, Riverside Theatres is the highlight of a great night out in Parramatta.


Introduction

This Resource Kit has been designed as a classroom tool to assist with the preparation, evaluation and analysis of the Australian Theatre for Young People (atyp) and Riverside Theatre production: Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs. The notes and activities have been divided into three components:  Before you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs  The Performance: Behind the scenes of Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs  After you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs NSW BOS Syllabi have been used as a guide for this resource kit. It is recommended before using the suggested websites in this kit that teachers first visit the sites to assess suitability of content for your particular school setting. We hope you find these activities useful and that they enhance your creative arts experiences in the classroom. Heather Clark Education and Outreach Manager Australian Theatre for Young People

Table of Contents Before you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs Musical Context: The Music of the 80s Sound FX: Meaning through Music In Rehearsal The Performance: Behind the scenes of Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs: The atyp creative team & cast Interview with the designer Interviews with the cast Get Involved! After you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs: First Impressions Design Elements The Elements of Drama Review Exploring Themes: A Boal Approach to Bullying


Before you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs

Musical context: The Music of the 80s Because the play is an adaptation of the novel, Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs by Michael Gerard Bauer, grab a copy and have a read before you see the play. You may also like to read the prequel, Don’t Call Me Ishmael.

Classroom Activity PRACTICAL TASK: The Dugongs, Ishmael‟s Dad‟s band, was playing the live band circuit in the 1980s. In our production, composer Michael Toisuta was commissioned to write music with an “80s feel”. In order to gain an understanding of the musical context of the play, the following activity will provide a fun view into the past. 

Ask your parents, or people who remember the band scene of the 1980s, what songs and music they most enjoyed. List the bands, their songs and try to listen to recordings of them. Use the following table to help you with your research. 1. Create a table: Band Song Title Name

Themes of the song

Your response to the music

REFLECTION: 1. What differences do you notice between music of the 80s and music of today? Are there any similarities and if so, what are they? Have the themes of songs changed over the past thirty years? If so, in what ways?

___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


Sound FX: Meaning through Music

Classroom Activity BRAINSTORM:  View the following link on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUa23yevmVo  As a class, discuss your impressions of the “dugong”. How does it move? What are its most obvious features? If it were a human, what type of person would it be? What sort of environment does it live in? Keep in mind your responses when you view the play and ask yourself, “How does the “dugong” relate to the play?” PRACTICAL TASK:  In groups of four or five, create a soundtrack for the film clip above. You may create a sound-scape vocally, use a program like “Garage band” or use musical instruments. When creating your soundtrack, think about the mood you want to evoke. Do you want to work with the images or against them? Why? What effect will this have on the audience? REFLECTION:  Listen to each group‟s soundtrack while watching the clip. Do you think the music worked with or against the images? What effect did the music create? How does music impact visual images?

__________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ During the performance, notice the effect of the music. Be prepared to discuss your response in class.


In rehearsal Our cast members rehearse two evenings a week. They are all under 26 and some of them are school students. Evening rehearsals allow our young actors to work and attend school during our season.

Classroom Activity

Have a look at the picture below of the cast in rehearsal: What do you think is happening in this scene?

PRACTICAL TASK: Recreate the moment from the picture, improvise what you think will happen next in the scene.

Adam Marks, Matthew Friedman, Michael Brindley, Elena Burger Photo: Claire Harris


The Performance Behind the Scenes of Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs

Creative Team atyp Artistic Director Writer Director Assistant Director Designer Production Mgr SX Design LX Design Stage Manager Administrator

Fraser Corfield Jo Turner Fraser Corfield Elizabeth Gibney Jasmine Christie Liam Kennedy Michael Toisuta Ben Cisterne Sam Johnson Drew De Mullich

Cast Miss Turango Kelly Faulkner Sally Nofke Prue Lesuer Ishmael Lesuer Razz Man Scobie Prindabel Bill Kingsley Barry Bagsley Danny Wallace Doug Savage Mr Barker

Danielle King Emma Campbell Marguerite Assat Elena Burger Michael Brindley Adam Marks Matthew Friedman Tom Gilmour Sorie Bangura Billy Mansour Cooper Torrens James Hughes Mark Ashmore


Interview with the Designer Jasmine Christie – Designer

How do you initially approach the design for a production? First of all, I read and re-read the text and I try to gauge my instinctual response. Ideas about feel, colours, style and other artistic reference start to emerge. From here, I usually have discussions with the director as to what they feel is most important to the show, and the ideas they most want to convey. With the director‟s vision in mind I start collecting references from everywhere; magazines, photographs, art works, music, installations, and often other productions. I collate these images to start to refine a “look”. From here, I then look at the logistics of the show, number of scenes, props, costume changes and the limitations and potential of the performing space, using venue plans. Using a model box, and costume renderings I start to design the show, with ongoing discussions with the director and other creatives such as lighting designers and stage management. Throughout this whole process I try to always come back to the text, keeping in mind the purpose of the production, which is important .

Model box of “Ishmael” set Photo: Claire Harris


How do you create a design for a play that has so many different scenes? This was indeed one of the biggest challenges. The piece not only takes place in no less than 14 different settings, but also jumps from interior to exterior scenes instantly. Fraser (the director) and I discussed this and felt, due to the nature of the piece, being both a comedy and a piece about youth, we could afford to be less literal in our interpretation of these scenes and also integrate the scene changes into the pace and style of the show. For this reason, the set consists of large movable flats that can be arranged in multiple configurations to suggest the settings of the piece. For me, the most important elements of the show were the themes of young love and the energy of youth today. It was a priority for me to evoke this energy in the set through both colour and the street art style, providing a visual backdrop to the action of the play.

Prue’s costume design

Scobie’s costume design

What advice would you give to aspiring young designers? Collect images. In boxes, on your desktop, collect images from everywhere of things you love, shows you‟ve seen, fashion, artworks, films, CD covers, photographs, graphic designs. Keeping these together, you start to develop and refine your own aesthetic style, which begins to come out in everything you do. Secondly, see all you can. This refers to not only theatre, but exhibitions, ballet, animation, live music, films, music videos. The more you see the more you begin to gauge the movements of culture and be inspired by the new aesthetics of other people. And thirdly, keep doing it. It‟s hard to do, but even when you‟re having a “bad” day creatively, work through it and you do improve.


Interviews with the cast: Sorie Bangura - Bill Kingsley

How do you approach the preparation for your role? Do you use particular techniques? How about learning lines? I assess where my character stands within the play, just from reading the script, and in the process of the rehearsal room I gain an understanding of how he is seen by others. From there it becomes about fleshing out the character. Improvising scenes with other characters helps in the preparation of the character as well as the willingness to go along with various drama exercises. Learning lines is not a problem due to the repetition of lines in the rehearsal room. What is the most interesting trait of your character? I like the way he is comfortable with himself, he knows what and who he is and although he is the victim of

bullying, he doesn‟t change who he is to suit others. Which parts of your character are the most difficult to play? He is a massive sci-fi expert, and the research involved in that department is a considerable amount to digest. How does your character change and how do you reflect this change in your performance? Out of all the introverted characters, Bill seems to be the one who is able to talk to girls without freezing or stumbling over words. For me Bill starts out as a nerdy “spaceman” and although he does not abandon his likes and interests, he is able to conduct himself normally with women. What advice would you give to other young actors who would like a career in the arts? If it‟s the career you want, make sure you‟re willing to accept all the consequences that come with it, and if you are willing to do so, go for it.


Most of the characters are quite close to your actual age, do you feel you are similar to them? Why/Why not?

Matthew Friedman – James Scobie Why did you audition for Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs? I‟ve always wanted to be involved in a professional production, but until now I‟ve been limited to school. My brother (David) was particularly helpful in bugging me until I sent an email to set up an audition time. What is the most interesting trait of your character? The trait that struck me the most about Scobie is that he is biologically incapable of fear, which could be attributed to the brain operation that he recently underwent. In the character list he‟s described as „The brainiest brainiac of all time‟ and a „Chief debating wizard‟.

There are quite a few things with which I can relate to Scobie, even though he is three years my senior. Scobie is a much more exaggerated version of me when it comes to academics and debating. We‟re also both leaders in our own way, and we‟re both able to find means of connecting with a lot of different people. How does your character change and how do you reflect this change in your performance? The main transformation within Scobie is when he falls in love with Prue, Ishmael‟s younger sister. Suddenly, this usually confident genius is thrown way out of his depth, into an alien world. When uncomfortable, Scobie‟s sentences become disjointed and unsure, compared to his usual way of talking which is smooth, sure and confident. What advice would you give to other young actors who would like a career in the arts? Give things a go. Trying is the first step to success, and you only risk disappointment by auditioning for roles. Even if you don‟t get the role, the learning experience is well worth it.


Marguerite Assaf – Sally Nofke Why did you audition for Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs?

Which parts of your character are the most difficult to play?

I auditioned for it because I want to be an actor and I thought theatre is a great start and a very good experience to help me be more confident and get used to a big crowd watching me. Also, because the play seemed really funny and interesting I really wanted to be a part of it.

I think when I have to make a lot of eye contact. I can do it but it‟s kind of hard for me to stay in eye contact for a long time. I'm working it =).

How do you approach the preparation for your role? Do you use particular techniques? How about learning lines?

In some parts I feel like I'm similar because she seems laid back with everything. Sometimes I'm not similar. For example, in the pool situation and in the part where Razz makes her cry, I think I would have reacted differently. For the other characters, yes! I feel there are a lot of similarities.

I read the lines and try to figure out what she's thinking at the time and I try and build up a personality for her by the stuff she says. Learning lines isn‟t really that hard for me, I'm just going to read them over and over again so I can get used to saying them and know when and how to say them.

Most of the characters are quite close to your actual age, do you feel you are similar to them? Why/Why not?

What advice would you give to other young actors who would like a career in the arts?

What is the most interesting trait of your character?

My advice is to be yourself, believe in yourself, and don‟t give up!

I think she is very confident but when someone says one thing that could really put her down she loses all that confidence. Of course, she regains it afterwards.

Also, practice a lot because it makes a big difference, it did for me. Have a good attitude towards everything, get feedback and work on your acting 


sidekick to Barry Bagsley. ..He tends to be the friend that gets picked on when no one else is around to harass.

Which parts of your character are the most difficult to play?

Cooper Torrens – Danny Why did you audition for Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs? I love participating in atyp productions; it‟s very friendly and positive. Ishmael is a great play, filled to the brim with the essentials for great theatre – humour, drama and romance. How do you approach the preparation for your role? Do you use particular techniques? How about learning lines? I try to imagine what the character‟s life would be like and create a back story for them to give them more depth. Learning lines just comes with practice. Read, read, read and then try to say them without the script, usually with a friend to prompt when you forget.

Danny has to be „ruthless‟ in that he has no remorse for his actions. I find it difficult to think up ways to make others miserable and pretend I have no regrets. Most of the characters are quite close to your actual age. Do you feel you are similar to them? Why / Why not? I don‟t feel very similar to Danny; he is far more brutish than I am, still I can empathize with his „type‟ or „group‟ of people. How does your character change and how do you reflect this change in your performance? Danny doesn‟t exactly change throughout the play. Although in the end he finds a productive outlet for his energy in the band „B.A.R.R.Y‟ (Bad Ass Rock „n‟ Roll Yeah) with Barry and Doug.

What is the most interesting trait of your character?

What advice would you give to other young actors who would like a career in the arts?

Danny is a big, testosterone-fuelled bully who, along with Doug, is a

Good luck.


Get Involved !

How do you audition for an atyp show? All atyp auditions are advertised on our website www.atyp.com.au and in our enewsletter. Once they are advertised call atyp to book an audition time 02 9270 2400. atypâ€&#x;s productions provide students with the opportunity to work alongside professional directors and creatives in staging a show, providing an opportunity for them to learn from people who are actively working in the industry.


After you see Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs

Initial reaction What was your initial reaction to the performance? What sticks out in your mind? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Would you recommend the performance to a friend? Why / Why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

Design Elements Costumes Describe the costumes. How was costume used to portray character? Was the use of costume successful? Why / Why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Lighting Describe the lighting. How was lighting used to set the scene and define the space? Was the use of lighting successful? Why / Why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ Set Describe the set. Jasmine Christie wanted to reflect a fun, 2D set that reflected cartoon elements. Was this successful? Why / Why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________


Sound and Music Identify a moment where the sound/music affected you as an audience member. ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

The Elements of Drama Comment on how the performance used the elements of drama: Tension: Where were the moments of tension in the overall performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

What was the most interesting aspect of the use of space? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

Which moment held the most tension for you? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Recreate the tension in the moment as a tableau.

Movement How was movement used to portray each character? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

Focus: How did the director draw the audience's focus to the action he most wanted you to see? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Identify a moment that was really successful in drawing focus? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Space How did the actors use the stage space? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

Symbol Can you identify any symbols/motifs used in the production? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What were the most successful symbols used? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Mood / Atmosphere Describe the mood of the piece. _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________


What sort of feeling did you have at the end of the play? Was it different to the feeling you had at the beginning of the play? Why/Why not? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Where were the high points in the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How did you feel at the end of the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ What devices were used to create mood throughout the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Draw a mood map of that shows the emotional journey of the overall show:

Character / Role Did you think the actors were well cast for their roles? Why/Why not? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Identify one character that stood out in your mind? Why were they so memorable? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ Actor-Audience Relationship What was the role of the audience in the performance? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ How did the characters relate to the audience? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ The play is about young people and the issues they face as teenagers. Did you identify with any of the characters? Why/Why not? _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

Michael Brindley, Adam Marks Photo: Claire Harris


Write your own Review A review is an important part of theatre criticism. It gives an account of the production with the writer's opinion of the success of the performance. Become an atyp theatre critic! Use the scaffold below to write a review of Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs. Send it to heather@atyp.com.au We'll publish well written reviews on our website. How to write a review: Remember to: - Paint an accurate picture of the production for someone who has not been there - Give a personal opinion about the success of the performance You may wish to approach your review writing by following guidelines: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

State the details of the production, where, when, by who. A synopsis of the overarching plot of the play (without giving away the ending!) Background of the show and the unique aspects of the production. Information about the style and genre of the piece. Analysis of the mood and atmosphere created by the cast/designers. Analysis of the choices made by the director. Analysis of the performances of the actors. Analysis of set, costume, lighting and design aspects and how these relate to the themes of the show. Your personal opinion supported by examples to justify your opinion. Recommendation and / or overall rating.

Marguerite Assaf, Emma Campbell Photo: Claire Harris Remember to make it concise and clear. Try to write your review in 300 words. We look forward to receiving your reviews!


Exploring Themes: A Boal Approach to Bullying Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs explores a number of themes that are prevalent in the teen years – belonging, family, first love and bullying. In order to explore the theme of bullying the following activities draw upon the teachings of Augusto Boal. Augusto Boal coined the term, “Theatre of the Oppressed”. In order to address issues of inequality, disparity and injustice, he created the theatrical forms, “Forum Theatre” and “Invisible Theatre”. These forms are theatrical experiences through which an audience moves beyond being a spectator and becomes an integral part of the action as a “spect-actor”. To learn more about Boal and his approach to theatre read the following books Boal, A. (2000) Theatre of the Oppressed, London: Pluto Press. Boal, A. (1992) Games for Actors and Non-Actors, London: Routledge. Boal, A. (1998) Legistlative Theatre, London: Routledge.

Michael Brindley, Adam Marks Photo: Claire Harris


Classroom Activity BRAINSTORM: In groups of three, discuss and record your answers for the following questions (this is a brainstorming technique that will help you think outside the box):  How is bullying like a zoo? How is bullying like an ocean? How is bullying like a glass of water? How is bullying like a bush fire? How is bullying like breakfast? How is bullying like a ballet?  Choose one of these metaphors that most reflects the theme of “bullying” for you. You may like to create another metaphor but try not to choose something that has obvious points of similarity. PRACTICAL TASK:  Create a tableaux (still picture) for the metaphor you have chosen. REFLECTION:  In your Drama Journal, draw a picture of your metaphor for bullying. Be creative in your response. Use collage, pen and ink or trace around found objects. Let the reflection speak for itself without explanation.  You may like to share your reflection with the class. See if they can determine which metaphor you‟ve used.

Cooper Torrens, Sorie Bangura, Adam Marks Photo: Claire Harris


Classroom Activity

(The following activity is based on Boal‟s Forum Theatre taken from Games for Actors and Non-Actors, p.p.243 – 245. Please refer to this for a more full explanation of the roles and game): BRAINSTORM:  Discuss the concept of “oppression”. Where do you see oppression in your life? Where in Australia? Where internationally?  What distinguishes an oppressor from a victim? List the attributes of an oppressor. List the attributes of a victim.  In pairs, create a still picture that reflects the relationship between oppressor and victim. Show this to the class. PRACTICAL TASK  Form groups of five.  Drawing upon your responses to the above brainstorming activity, create a scene that includes the following: a distinctive setting, a bully, a victim, a witness, a bystander.  Discuss the central issue of the bullying situation. Why is the victim being bullied? Where is the scene set? How do the characters enter the scene? How does the crisis arise? Create an ending which favours the bully and keeps the victim oppressed. Make sure each character has a part to play in the scene.  Group members choose their roles – bully, victim, witness, bystander and “joker” (the MC or go-between the actors and the audience).  The group plays out the scene for the rest of the class (or another class altogether). They then replay the scene with the “Joker” orchestrating the audience‟s response. This time, the audience (spect-actors) can call out “stop”, take the place of one of the actors and put forward/act out their own response or solution to the bullying.  The role of the “joker” is to keep the action going and to take suggestions from the audience as to how characters could replay their parts in order to address the oppression. REFLECTION:  As a class, discuss the outcome of the “scene”. What did you notice about the original scene? How did it change? Were the changes made possible to implement in a real-life situation of bullying?


Teacher resource for Jo Turner's dramatic adaptation of "Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs"