Notifications

New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Get to know your neighbors, learn more about your family and make a craft inspired by influential people in your life in this Family Activity! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past entries here on our blog and at Pinterest.com/NewVictory.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Seedfolks is about a diverse community in Cleveland, Ohio. New York City is world renowned for its busy, bustling boroughs, but there's a good chance most neighbors don't know each other! In this activity, try to get to know your neighbors. 

Challenge One: Do you know who lives in your building? Do you know who lives on your street? Do you know the names of business owners or workers on your street? Make a commitment to get to know three new people and say hello to them everytime you see them. 

BONUS: What are other ways that you can spread kindness and get to know your neighborhood better? 

Challenge Two: Did you know that there are over 600 community gardens in the five boroughs of New York City? Using this online guide find the garden(s) closest to you. Many community gardens host open hours for their neighbors to come and take a peek. Make a commitment to visit a community garden or attend a similar event to become an even larger part of your community! 

Westside Community Garden

Flower Power

The play Seedfolks is based on a book of the same name. Author Paul Fleischman coined the term "seedfolks," meaning someone who has influenced you or helped you become the person you are today. In this activity, explore who your seedfolks are and then take inspiration from their lives for an art project! 

Materials: Pictures of your seedfolks, paint brush, modge podge (or a mixture of equal parts water and white glue), a clay flower pot, a seed of your choice and soil

Step One: Read this excerpt from the play where a character, Florence, talks about her family history.

My great-grandparents walked all the way from Louisiana to Colorado. That was in 1859. They were both freed slaves and they wanted to get good and far from the cotton-growing country. They went over the mountains, just to be safe, and homesteaded along the Gunnison River. Which is how my grandfather and my father and my sisters and I all came to be born there, the first black family in the whole county. My father called them our seedfolks, because they were the first of our family there. 

What is a seedfolk? Florence's seedfolks are her grandparents, because they're the first people in her family who settled in the county where she grew up. Without them, her life would not be the same. 

Step Two: Have a conversation with your family. Who are your seedfolks? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
  • Someone who helped raise you—a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a friend or any guardian.
  • Who is someone in your family you’ve never met, but have heard a lot of stories about?
  • Who is someone outside your family who influenced you when you were growing up? Maybe it’s a teacher, a historic figure, a neighbor or a babysitter.
Step Three: Collect pictures of your seedfolks and print them out. You will be using these in your art project. 

An example of someone's seedfolks

Step Four: Use modge podge or watered-down white glue to decoupage a flower pot with a photo of your personal seedfolks. To decoupage, cut out your photos and decide exactly where you want them on the clay pot. Attach the photos with your sticky mixture, making sure to smooth out any bumps. When the photos dry, cover your photos with the modge podge or white glue mixture to make sure they seal with a glossy finish.

Step Five: Plant a seed in your newly designed flower pot. Don’t forget to water it and watch your plant grow! 

How will your plants grow?
 
Discovering Different Accents

In Seedfolks, Sonja Parks plays the many different characters who live in the diverse community of Gibb Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Among those characters, there is a Vietnamese girl named Kim, a Guatemalan boy named Gonzalo, a Korean girl named Sae Young and an Indian boy named Amir. The actor makes each of these characters distinguishable through different accents.

The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) is a website that collects primary-source recordings of accents from various regions in this world. Listen to the following accents:
Step One: When you listen to these four different accents, make sure you pay attention to the following:
  • Rhythm and flow: How fast or slow do they speak? Where do they pause in their sentences?
  • Inflections: Does their manner of speaking sound melodious? Are there patterns in the way they speak?
  • Stress placements: Which parts of words do they emphasize? For example, Americans place the stress on the first "o" when saying "photo" and they place the stress on the second "o" in the word "photography." 
  • Tone: Are they speaking loudly or softly? Are their voices lively or calm?
Step Two: Read the following excerpt from the play in your normal accent. Start to think about how this line would sound in any of the accents you just listened to.

My class had sprouted lima beans in paper cups the year before. I now placed a bean in each of the holes. I covered them up, pressing the soil down firmly with my fingertips. I opened my thermos and watered them all. And I vowed to myself that those beans would thrive.

Step Three: Think of someone in your family or an ancestor who came from a different country. Did they have a distinct accent? See if you can research what their accent might have sounded like by going on The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA).

Step Four: Try to repeat the same excerpt from the play with the accent your family member or ancestor might have had if they spoke English. 
 
Seedfolks Thumb Named one of "Seven Artists You Must See" by American Theatre, Sonja Parks brilliantly embodies over a dozen distinct and diverse characters in this enthralling solo production. Get your tickets to Seedfolks today!
 
Posted by Beth Henderson
March 19, 2018

Family Activity: Air Play


Create your own mini air cannon, become an air sculptor and discover your clown persona in this Family Activity for Air Play! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past entries on our blog and at Pinterest.com/NewVictory.
 

A Mini Air Cannon

In this activity, create your own mini air cannon in a few simple steps. Once you're done crafting this hand-held air machine, see what you can blow around the house!

Materials: Paper cup, balloon, scissors, rubber band, marker

Materials
Balloons

Step One: Draw a dime-sized circle on the bottom of your cup.

Step One

Step Two: Cut out the circle.

Step Two

Step Three: Cut off the neck of your balloon.

Step Three

Step Four: Place the balloon over the open side of the cup and secure it with a rubber band.

Step Four

Step Five: Test it out! Pull back and release the balloon to create a puff of air. Try blowing a variety of light household objects around, like a feather or some toilet paper!

Example

BONUS: What is the heaviest object your mini air cannon can move?

Air Art

Air Play was created by experimenting, researching and a lot of "air-xpertise"! In fact, the show began as a collaboration between two clowns and an air sculptor! In this activity, we invite you to become a household air sculptor with your family.

Step One: Daniel Wurtzel is the artist who created the air sculptures in Air Play. Find out more about his amazing work here.

Step Two: Watch these sample videos of fun air experiments. 

Materials: Blow dryer and ping pong balls

Ping Pong

Materials: Handmade paper plane and two electric fans

Fan

Materials: Duvet cover and a large, electric fan

Baby

Step Three: Do you have some of these materials at home? Great! Gather them up and test them out to see how long can you keep your items in the air or inflated. What other things in your house do you think can fly?

Step Four: Try shooting a video of your different air masterpieces. Play with speed or different filters to see all of your work's beautiful potential. Tag us on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #familyplay. 

Find the Clown in You

In this activity, you create your own clown. Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, the amazing duo in Air Play, elicit gasps and giggles throughout their show. What kind of clown are you?

Step One—The Costume: Being a clown is all about finding fun elements that help the audience identify your character. Christina and Seth use the colors red and yellow for their costumes. They also have pretty awesome hair colors that add to their persona.

The Acrobuffos
  • Do you have a favorite color?
  • What colors do you think best represent your personality?
  • Gather all of your clothes in your chosen color from your wardrobe to put together an amazing clown outfit.
Step Two—Funny Walks: The way your clown walks is an important part of your persona. The choices that you make with your walk can really heighten your character. Watch this video to get inspired.
 
 
Now it's time to try out your own silly walks! Try these challenges:
  • Walk with your knees touching.
  • Walk as low to the ground as possible.
  • Walk like you are light as air.
  • Walk while shaking all of your body.
 How else can you make your walk as silly as possible?
 
Step Three—The Silly Skill: Do you have a special talent, craft or science experiment? Make it a part of your act! Do you need some help figuring out what that is? Get inspired by these prompts.
  • Can you climb and balance on something (safely!) in your home?
  • Can you bounce or balance on different body parts?
  • Can you balance a small item on your nose?
  • Can you juggle?
  • Can you make funny voices or sounds?
  • Can you do a trick with a pet?
  • Are you flexible?
  • Can you make funny faces?
  • Can you play a musical instrument?
  • Can you do any magic tricks?
Step Four: Put it all together! Dress up in your funny outfit, show your family your funny walk and special, silly skill to create your own clown routine
 
Air Play Thumb Watch in absolute wonder as umbrellas take flight, balloons sprout minds of their own and shimmering silks ripple to the rafters in the modern circus spectacle Air Play. Get your tickets today!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson
 |<  < 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >|