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 silly, develop a comedy routine and find your signature clown look in this Family Activity for Pss Pss! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past posts here on our blog and at Pinterest.com/NewVictory.

Face It
The creators and performers of Pss Pss, Simone and Camilla, use facial expressions and grand gestures to help tell their story. To create their show, they drew inspiration from silent film comedians. In this activity, master the art of silent comedy.

Materials: Mirror

Step One: Watch the video below to see some silent film comedians. Pay close attention to how expressive their faces are!
 


Step Two: Now, it's your turn! Stand side-by-side with a friend or family member in front of a mirror. Warm up by making some silly faces. Can you:

  • Stick your tongue out?
  • Open your mouth really wide?
  • Open only one eye at a time?
  • Scrunch up your nose?

Step Three: Now it's time to really express yourself! Test out the following expressions in the mirror! Can you look:
  • Happy?
  • Sad?
  • Surprised?
  • Scared?
  • Excited?
  • Confused?

Step Three

Pas de Deux
In Pss Pss, Simone and Camilla tell a story without a single word being spoken. In this activity, play with different ways to express your thoughts and feelings to a partner without using a single word.

Materials: A random household item that can fit in your hand (maybe a ball!), card template

Step One: Sit or stand, facing your partner. Start a practice round with what you already know—your face! Decide who is partner A and who is partner B. With only their face, partner A will convey the emotions listed below in any order they'd like for 30 seconds. Partner B must try their best to keep up and mirror partner A's face. Once the 30 seconds is up, switch roles!
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Scared
Step Two: Pick up a random object in your home. Make sure it's something you can pass back and forth, for a game similar to hot potato! Some items that could work are a potato, a small ball, a rolled up sock, balled up paper or your favorite toy that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand!

First practice: simply pass the item to your partner and have your partner instantly pass it back. 

Once you get a rhythm, try passing the item based on the following prompts. Don't forget to react with your face.
  • The item is as light as a feather. Pass it!
  • The item is 1000 lbs. Pass it!
  • The item is really smelly. Pass it!
  • Can you think of other things this item could be? Pass it!
Step Three: Print and cut out the card template. Pick who is going to be partner A and who is going to be partner B. 

Card Template

Partner A picks a card and keeps it a secret, then holds the item as if it took on the identity of the object on the card they chose. 

For example, if they pick up an apple card, they would think about it's weight and how they would hold it in real life. Maybe they could take a few fake bites of it! Partner B must try to guess the identity of the object based on how partner A handles it.

BONUS: Create your very own cards with this blank template!

take it to the stage
Clowns are known for their signature looks—for Charlie Chaplin, it was a bowler hat and a thick mustache, and for Marcel Marceau, it was black triangles painted under his eyes. Check out some iconic looks below, and get ready to create a costume for your own clown persona!

Step One: Look at these classic clowns and silent film comedians in their costumes. 

Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau
 
Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
 
Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy
 
Louise Brooks
Louise Brooks
 
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

Step Two: It's time for you to get ready for the stage! Go and find some silly clothes to put on. TIP: It doesn't have to be silly from head to toe. Sometimes a regular outfit paired with a funny hat or silly shoes is even funnier than a wacky outfit!

BONUS: Put on whatever stage makeup that inspires you!

Step Three: You're ready for action! In costume, present your clown routine to family and friends. Invite them for a performance of Pas de Deux, or ask them to quiz you with expression cards. You will amaze them with your new skills and knowledge! Record your performance and share it on social with the hashtag #familyplay
 
 
Seedfolks Thumb Slapstick at its sweetest, this timeless performance celebrates the clumsy connection we make when we meet our match. Get your tickets to Pss Pss today!
 
Posted by Beth Henderson

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 Seedfolks! 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
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >|