New Victory Arts Break: Cookin’

Have you ever wondered why something made you laugh? Entertaining an audience and making them laugh is a lot like drumming. It’s important to have good… timing! In this New Victory Arts Break, inspired by Cookin’, we’ll be exploring the art of comedic timing along with some percussion-inspired movement, storytelling and a surprise comedy lesson. Let’s get started!

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New Victory Arts Break: Cookin';

The videos in this Arts Break were filmed at the New Victory Theater. We acknowledge that New Victory resides on the seized homeland of the Lenape people and the intertribal territory of many First Nations. We celebrate and pay deep respect to all Indigenous peoples, past, present and future.

Before the Show: Silly Chef
Before you head out the door to see Cookin’, let’s explore some of the themes you’ll see on stage! Here are some things to look out for:

  • Percussion: You’re going to see a lot of drumming—with surprising objects!
  • Comedic movement and dancing: Think slapstick comedy like Tom and Jerry.
  • Korean dishes and ingredients: Bibimbap, kimchi, gochujang and more!

Let’s put these themes to work in a game called Silly Chef. The rules of this game are very similar to Red Light / Green Light or a freeze dance, but we’ve added a culinary twist.

Step One: Assign one member of your family to be the Head Chef. It’s their responsibility to face away from the rest of the kitchen staff and create a percussive rhythm. As Head Chef, you can create this rhythm with your hands on your legs or on a surface in front of you.

Step Two: Everyone else in the kitchen is a Sous Chef. They’ll use their bodies to mime the act of cooking different dishes. For example, you could mime pizza-making by rolling the imaginary dough, tossing it in the air, adding the red sauce and toppings, and cutting it into slices.

Step Three: When your Head Chef is drumming with their back to you, cook up a silly storm! See how many dishes you can make before the Head Chef turns around. But when the Head Chef stops drumming and turns around, you must freeze! Be careful and don’t let the Head Chef see you move!

Follow along with Keyleen, Veronica and Yesenia from the New 42 Youth Corps! Can you spot what food they’re making?

Challenge! Kitchens can get really busy. What happens if the Head Chef changes the tempo? If the drumming is quick, it’s the lunch rush and the Sous Chefs need to cook quickly. But if the drumming is slow, then it’s time to slow down your cooking.

On the Way: Think Fast!
While you’re commuting to the New Victory Theater, here’s another Cookin’-inspired activity all about timing and storytelling. We’ll create a rhythm and use it to craft a short story inspired by our improvised beats. Check it out!

Yesenia, Keyleen and Veronica improvised a story all while keeping the beat. Ready to give it a try? Pass the story from one person to the next, but remember to listen to the speed of your drumming!

Step One: Establish an order with your family and decide who is going first, second and so on. Then go down the line, creating a story one person at a time and one sentence at a time.

Step Two: Get a rhythm going! Try drumming with your hands on your lap, or by stomping your feet. Listen to the people around you! Try creating a three-beat rhythm, like two stomps and a clap, or two claps and a stomp.

Step Three: Start the story creation. 3… 2… 1… drum! Once you have your beat going, have the first person start the story. When it’s your turn, keep the beat and add one sentence to the story. Then it’s the next person’s turn to add their sentence to the story. The game ends when someone decides that their sentence is the end of the story! All they have to do is finish with a “The End!”

Looking for story inspiration? Use the first part of Yesenia, Keyleen and Veronica’s story as a starting point.

Once upon a time, there was a piece of bread that was in the kitchen. It got into the oven! The oven was so hot that the bread started sweating.

What was your story about? Did the pace of your drumming change the path of your story?

Now you’re ready to sit back and be transported to a world of food, comedy and percussion. And don’t forget to arrive early and head downstairs to Jack and Lew’s Lobby for more activities inspired by Cookin’!

After the Show: Funny Surprises
First, some reflection. Let’s think a little bit about Cookin’! Gather the family members who saw the show with you and ask each other:

  • What was the most surprising part of the show? Why was it the most surprising part?
  • How many objects did the actors use to drum? Can you name some of them?
  • How did the pace of their drumming change the story? What happened in the story when they drummed softly? Loudly? Faster or more slowly?
  • The performers cooked a lot of different foods in the show! If you were to add your favorite food to Cookin’, what would it be? How could the performers make it in a surprising way?

Comedic timing is just as important in Cookin’ as percussive timing! Let’s enjoy a lesson in comedy from professional clown and New Victory Teaching Artist Sarah Petersiel, and notice how she uses the element of surprise to her comedic advantage.

Want more practice with silly surprises? Check out an entire Arts Break dedicated to The Element of Surprise.

And Beyond: Until Next Time!
From drumming up an imaginary meal to landing a punchline, we hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the art of timing inspired by Cookin’. Here are some more fun resources for you to continue your learning beyond today.

And keep the beat going with more Arts Break activities from our amazing New Victory Teaching Artists!

New Victory Education Programs Manager Asha John
Put the rhythm in your body and step to the beat with Asha in Arts Break: Music and Stepping.
New Victory Teaching Artist Marisol Rosa-Shapiro
Create some character-based choreography with Marisol in Arts Break: Music and Character.
New Victory Teaching Artist Peter Musante
Play a rhythmic game of Fruit Salad with Peter and Palo in Arts Break: Percussion Week.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.