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.
December 15, 2016

Family Activity: Oh Boy!

Act out scenes, track your responsibilities and compare them, and discover more about your history in this Family Activity! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at  

Parents Only Toggle

Certain topics can be difficult to broach with your kid. Whether you have already seen Oh Boy! or are planning to come, here are some tips to start, extend and deepen those conversations.
Roll Call

In Oh Boy!, the main character Balthazar learns news that directly affects his daily responsibilities. In this family activity, track your responsibilities and have a conversation as a family about how the lists compare and have evolved as you’ve gotten older. 

Step One: Individually write a list of your daily responsibilities. Think of it like a To Do list! What do you have to do: at home, at school, at work, on the train? 

Step Two: Once everyone has written their lists, have a conversation about the similarities and differences among them. 

Step Three: Have a family conversation about responsibility using these prompts: 
  • Why do you think your lists differ?
  • Do you like having responsibility? Why or why not?
  • Discuss a time in your life where you didn’t do something you were responsible for. What happened?
  • Have you ever had a responsibility that helped you to mature? How did you change as a person because of that responsibility?
Act the Part

When an actor rehearses a scene, they have to know who they are, and what their relationship is with their scene partner (this is called “given circumstances”). Changing the relationships between two actors can change the scene entirely! Let’s see how many ways you can interpret the following scene between character A and character B:

Family Activity Script
Find a scene partner and pick who will play A and B. Pick one of the relationships from below and try to act out the scene with those given circumstances. After rehearsing the scene a couple of times, try switching roles!
  • Siblings
  • Guardian/Child
  • Spouses
  • Teacher/Student
  • Judge/Defendant
  • Doctor/Patient
  • Employer/Employee
Where does your story begin?

Every family is a web of relationships, filled with stories and histories that make up YOU. Get to know your roots and plant your own version of a family tree!

Step One: Make a list of as much of your family as you already know. It’s good to start with your immediate family, and then “branch out!” to aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, stepparents or your chosen family. How many family members can you name on your own? 

Step Two: Talk to an adult and ask them to help you expand your list!
  • How many generations can you trace back to together?
  • How many family members did you identify?
  • What’s something new you learned about your family that you didn’t know before?
Step Three: The traditional family is usually represented in a tree shape. In Oh Boy! the show uses all sorts of objects to represent people. Take all of your collected information and choose an object that best represents your family. Maybe it’s a flower, a car, an apartment building or something completely different. Design and decorate your object with your family names and then show it to your family! 
Family Activity Umbrella Tree

Family Activities
We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites, Arts Express, TXT Marks the Spot and Talk-Backs! 
Twitter   How did your responsibility list turn out?
Share a photo of them with us on Instagram or Twitter, #OhBoyNewVic.
Facebook   What was it like to try out different relationships in that scene?
Like us on Facebook and tell us what you think!
Posted by Beth Henderson

The performers of Circus der Sinne's Mother Africa: My Home all come from the Hakuna Matata School of Acrobatics. Learn more about the school here and then play with acrobatics, rhythm and foot juggling in this Family Activity. For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at  

How To: Partner Acro

The cast of Mother Africa flips, twists and does amazing tricks in the air, but first you need to start with a strong base! Learn some basic partner acrobatics from New Victory Teaching Artist WT McRae in this video:

Rhythm Nation

Mother Africa: My Home isn't just acrobatics! There is also amazing music, dance and rhythm. All around the world people like to wear bells and objects that create sound on their wrists, ankles and waists. In Africa and the Amazon rainforest, some people wear anklets made of clacking seedpods. In this activity, make your own percussion anklet! 
Seedpod AnkletBell Anklet
Materials: Beads, jingle bells, pipe cleaners

Step One: Measure a pipe cleaner around your wrist or ankle. 

Step Two: Thread beads and bells through the pipe cleaner and connect the two ends together by twisting. Make jingle bracelets for both your ankles and wrists! 

Step Three: Once you're wearing your percussion jewelry, play these songs from Mother Africa: My Home and dance along to the beat.
  • Can you stick to the rhythm? 
  • Can you go low?
  • Can you go high?
  • Try to make an inventive dance move and teach it to your family!
Foot Juggling

Mother Africa: My Home features amazing acrobatics and contortion, but Circus der Sinne is also known for its incredible foot juggling! In this activity, learn the basic principles of foot juggling. 

Materials: Throw pillows, balloons, anything soft with a shape

Step One: Watch this clip from CNN's African Voices of a Circus der Sinne performer practicing her foot juggling. 

Step Two: Lie on your back and try to balance a pillow on one foot. Once it's balanced, try throwing it into the air with your foot.
  • Can you throw it to your other foot? 
  • How many times can you throw it in the air? 
  • Can you throw it to the foot of someone lying next to you? 
Step Four: Experiment with other things in your house. For example, try to a keep a balloon up in the air using only your feet.
  • How many seconds can you keep it aloft?
  • Can you throw it and catch it?
  • Can you pop it?
Step Five: Once you're done experimenting, it's time to create your act. Choose three tricks to perform in a sequence.

HINT: Start with the easiest and end with the most challenging. Don't forget to bow at the end (in the circus it's called a style!). 

Family Activities

We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites: TXT Marks the Spot, Talk-Backs and more!
Twitter   How did your percussion anklet turn out?
Share a photo of itwith us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVicFamilyActivity.
Facebook   What did your audience think of your acrobatics and foot juggling?
Like us on Facebook and their responses!

Basic Partner Acrobatics video by Blake McCarty and Kyle Scott 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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