Stories

New Victory On Demand: Three Arts Break Activities

This season, as artists return to the New Victory stage, additional shows from around the world are now available on demand, to rent and enjoy from home. With the New Victory Arts Break activities below, you can watch a play… and play!

New Victory On Demand now features three more exciting titles: The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly from Theater Lovett in Dublin, Ireland; Stories of Oceania from Honolulu Theatre for Youth in Hawaii; and Sunny Days, Insect Hands and Night Tree, from Second Hand Dance in Surrey, England.

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New Victory Arts Break 2021-22 Season On Demand

Local Character (The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly)
In The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly, we follow Peggy and her family of packers through quite an adventure—all told by a single performer. We all have stories to tell, but how do we choose to tell them? And what inspires the characters we create? In this activity, we’ll create original characters with New Victory Teaching Artist Ana Cantorán Viramontes, inspired by places in our communities.

Let’s create characters inspired by our neighborhood, just like Ana did!

Materials: Something to write with, something to write on, props or costume pieces, a grown-up and some walking shoes

Step One: Grab a grown-up and take a walk around the neighborhood. Look out for landmarks that inspire you and think about why these places are standing out to you. Is it the colors and shapes? The history? The people?

Step Two: Consider one place that stood out to you. Make a list of everything you can about that one place! Think:

  • What do you feel when you visit or look at this place?
  • What does it look like? How big or small is it?
  • Is it silly? Scary? Boring? Ancient? Colorful?
  • Why is it where it is? What is its purpose?

Step Three: Now, think about how the qualities of that object or landmark might translate into a character. Answer the following questions to create a character profile:

  • If this place were a person, what would they act like?
  • What might their name be?
  • What is something they would wear?
  • How would they move?
  • What do they do every day?
  • What is something they really, really want?

Step Four: Now that you’ve created a profile for your character, think about how to perform them! Walk their walk and talk their talk! Gather some costume or prop pieces to inspire your performance like Ana did, and start to move around like that character might move. Then, using the information you’ve imagined for this character, start to talk like them. How do they sound? What do they talk about?

Have fun pretending to be someone completely unique, and feel free to try this out for as many of the places that inspire you as you want—a neighborhood cast of characters!

Challenge!

Can you think of a story where two or more of these characters might meet? How do you think you could portray multiple characters while telling that story?

I Come From... (Stories of Oceania)
Stories of Oceania tells stories of different people from different islands across the Pacific Ocean. The main character, Kāpili, shows us what happens when we open ourselves to others’ experiences and cultures, revealing how truly connected we are. In this activity from New Victory Teaching Artist Jamie Roach, we’ll create a spoken word piece inspired by where we come from.

Let’s follow Jamie’s example and get inspired by the things that make the places we come from feel like home!

Materials: Something to write with, something to write on

Step One: Print out and fill out this poem template, or copy it down and fill it out on paper.

"I Come From..." Poem Worksheet

Step Two: Read your poem back to yourself and think of a gesture you can perform that captures the feeling of each line.

Step Three: Perform your poem out loud, and incorporate your gestures. Think:

  • How did it feel to share such a personal poem?
  • Did anything surprise you as you performed?
  • If you performed your poem for someone, what connections can you make with that person’s life experience? Do you have anything in common?

Challenge!

Using your “I Come From…” Poem as inspiration, think of a story from your life and find different ways to tell it. Could you draw it, or maybe share it through song? Whatever your choice is, get creative and have fun!

Chroeography Re-framed (Sunny Days, Insect Hands and Night Tree)
In their trio of dance films, Sunny Days, Insect Hands and Night Tree, Second Hand Dance explores the outdoors through movement, inspired by all kinds of different environments and creatures. In this activity from New Victory Teaching Artist Hassiem Muhammad, we’ll create and reframe our own movements based on our own environments at home.

Let’s try out Hassiem’s framing challenges and create some choreography of our own.

Level One: Small Frame

Step One: Pick a small frame that you can perform in. This can be in a camera frame, like in the video, a picture frame, or an empty cardboard box. Your first move is to pick a way to enter the frame.

Step Two: Choose three movements with any body part that fits in that frame, like your face, neck, shoulders, and hands. Keep it simple, like Hassiem, or find a way to make it challenging!

Step Three: Find a way to connect all three of your moves. Do you swivel between moves one and two? Do you spin around before move three? Get creative!

Step Four: Find a way to exit the frame—that’s your ending! You’ve got a whole movement sequence. Congratulations!

Step Five: Practice your sequence and pick music to accompany your performance. Then perform it live for friends and family! Or, if you’re using a camera as your frame, record a video of your performance to share with those far away.

Hassiem Door Frame

Level Two: Every Move to the Letter

Step One: Once again, pick a frame you can perform in, but this time you’ll need a bit more room. A camera, a door frame, or a large window will work well, just make sure you can fit your whole body into the frame.

Step Two: Find a way to enter the frame—this will be your entrance.

Step Three: Spell out the letters of your name with your body! Explore all the different ways you can shape the letters. Use your whole body, try different levels and think outside the box— er… frame!

Step Four: Like in Level One, it’s time to connect these movements. Choreograph ways to transition from one letter to the next to make for a smooth performance. Then, end your performance by finding a way to exit your frame.

Step Five: Choose music and rehearse. Then perform it live or record and share it!

Challenge!

We challenge you to create a hand dance to your favorite song!

Thanks for playing along and tuning in! Whether you learn some new moves, create a work of art or simply try something new, we hope you get up, get moving and have fun with New Victory Arts Break all season long.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by Bloomberg Philanthropies, 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.

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