In November 1999 I received an email from Fran Dukehart, a children’s theatre advocate, director and theatre specialist in Atascadero, California. Fran was in charge of 20 Gifted and Talented Students from grades 3-5 who put on a production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in January 2000. Listed below are some of the activities Fran came up with for them. Thanks Fran!
“As an actress, mime and mask performer, I realize that connecting to the text is most important.
Reading out loud is the first place I start. This reading includes big, expanded, larger than life movements that connect with the truth. What is being said is also being seen.
Next, I use costumes. The youngsters usually love to try on ‘different’ looks. This is fun and revealing. Many students will resist being other than what they like… so we need to stretch their willingness to ‘be’ or ‘play’ a character.
Then, I entice them even further with food from the play. Yesterday, we had dried bread and cabbage water soup… it was great fun watching their faces as the reality of eating such simple food was a condition that Charlie lived with each day.
At the end of their meal, I gave each one a tiny piece of a Power Bar instead of chocolate. Next week, we will have an imitation Wonka bar.
Drawing a story board of the main scenes is another method of helping the students understand the story line.”