Mint leaf eating miniature dragons!
Secret agents snooping out werewolves in rocky caves!
Evil ghosts and magical bunnies!
Special rocks that give the beholder phenomenal powers!
It’s just another day plotting plays for the Prelude program. For the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with two third grade classes at Rothenburg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine. So far we’ve met with each class twice – enough to learn that the kids’ imaginative minds are clearly hard at work dreaming up wonderful, magical, creative things to bring to life on the stage. Particularly impressive to me was some of the detail in their story ideas. I mean, a miniature dragon who subsists off a diet of mint leaves and a board game challenge that will determine the winner of a magical rock that can be used to turn a werewolf permanently into a human aren’t plot twists to scoff at.
Despite their teacher’s plea that the focus of the story be on plots and events rather than the continual addition of characters, the students in one of the classes we are working with seem to have a very fond affinity for creating characters. Nearly every child was desperate to concoct and introduce a new, clever character to add to the already amusing cast of puppies, ghosts, dragons, spies, and royalty. Luckily for them, our plays tend to require about 15 to 18 characters so everyone has a part to play. But we were able to find some common ground with an undeniably remarkable mix of roles to play and a pretty creative dose of settings, details, and events to keep things interesting.
The scripts also provide a wonderful opportunity for the students to work on the reiteration of story elements, their reading fluency, vocabulary acquisition, sequencing, the editing process, and public speaking skills. So far the scripts have been written and edits have been made, so now we’re on to auditions, requesting colorful costume and set designs from the students, and rehearsals. Additionally, starting in the middle of February and extending through April, we will be doing the Prelude program with five classes of third and fourth graders at the Academy of World Languages in O’Bryonville. The topics their teachers are focusing on this month are African American leaders, Ohio inventors, and U.S. Presidents. I can’t wait to see which historical figures will grace the pages of their scripts!