When I was asked to help provide movement and choreography for some of the animal characters in the upcoming show, Babe the Sheep Pig, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I would finally have the opportunity to explore how a farm animal like a pig or sheep might express emotions through movement that could range from despair to jubilation.
Perhaps that sounds silly, but actors rely on much more than just their voice to portray characters. Even with different human characters there is a wide “vocabulary” of movements that may be used in characterization. For example, introverted characters might use subtle gestures, while the most powerful characters take up the most space. A character’s walk is in many ways just as important as their lines.
Translating these concepts to characters from the animal kingdom proves to be a unique and thrilling challenge. I thought it might be insightful for the audience to share my thought processes for developing this “vocabulary” of movement that is going into portraying these delightful bestial characters.
Take the sheep, for example. They are mostly calm and placid and they desperately want to stay in their herd. They are almost unmoving statues when standing together in a close knot. When presented with a threat that could be dangerous, they move away. First slowly and then at a full run if the threat gets too close. Sheepdogs use this behavior to their advantage to drive herds of sheep from pasture to barn.
The sheepdogs are the monarchs of the farmyard. They are full of energy, their eyes darting from place to place always looking to keep the livestock in line and be helpful to their masters. Dogs have a unique canine smile and carry their heads high in pride, particularly when they are hard at work.
Finally, the character of Babe is a unique challenge. The character has a porcine gait, but the pig’s circumstances change dramatically through the story. How does a pig look when it is sad? Does a pig trot differently when it is really trying hard? How does a pig show the uncertainty of fear or the thrill of victory? You’ll have to come to the show to see for yourself. As you watch, be sure to think about all the hard work the actors put into imbuing these animal characters with movements that identify them as the animals they portray, while delivering their lines and exercising their craft.
DreamWrights’ inaugural Open Mic Night held last August was such a success that not only is it being featured again, but also the age limit for the event has been lowered. Aspiring entertainers 16 years and older are invited to share their talents, whether it be music, spoken word, comedy, etc. , at this Open Mic Night hosted by DreamWrights Center for Community Arts. Relax in the lounge-style setting while enjoying performances from members of the local community.
Stand up comedienne, Jackie Wyker, performed at DreamWrights’ Open Mic in August and is scheduled to perform again. Wyker, who has been doing comedy for about a year, enjoyed the first Open Mic Night so much, she is happy to return. “It was a great night. Good food, beverages and lots of talent. Both watching and performing was a delight,” Wyker says.
Fellow comedian and Energy Management Advisor, Greg Billet, is also making a return appearance. “We had a great time last time, it seemed like a big excited crowd and that’s always fun. It felt like they came ready to laugh and have a good time. It’s cool that DreamWrights served drinks and food also. Everyone loves that!”
Ben Garner of Rent Sound Gear is running sound for the event. Garner says, “Rent Sound Gear specializes in providing sound for events like this. We’ve hosted many open mic nights before. We are looking forward to it.”
DreamWrights’ Open Mic Night will be held Saturday, January 28 from 7:00pm to 11:00pm. Food and drink are available for purchase. Bar service is provided by Tutoni’s. All attendees require ID for admittance. Cover charge is $5 at the door. The event is open to anyone 16 and older. Some material may not be suitable for younger audiences. Acts interested in performing are encouraged to go online or call ahead (717-848-8623 x1) to sign up for a 15 – 20 minute time slot. The $5 entrance fee is waived for those who register to perform in advance.
Even though the holidays and the traditional time for gift giving is over, that doesn’t mean that the need for new and gently used things at DreamWrights is satisfied. As you act on your resolutions to declutter and clean out that junk closet, to simplify your life, or to give something to a great organization that needs it more than you, we are happy to take gently used and new things off your hands. Please remember us as you sort stuff for your spring yard sale and clean our your garage. What might be hiding in your notions drawer that you don’t care about but we would benefit from?!
A HUGE thank you to those of you who have already heeded our call and passed some wonderful supplies our way. We are very grateful to to be the recipient of a Bluetooth speaker, pencil sharpener, labels, pencils and glue sticks galore. We wasted no time putting all of these items into use!
New or gently used: Electronics
Bluetooth or plug-in-to-laptop speakers for use in rehearsals (to play sound from computers, tablets, phones)
Camcorder/ video camera
Ipad/tablet with camera
Working electric pencil sharpeners
Corded Drills – Variable speed reversible
Cordless Drills (as long as the battery can hold a charge and the charger is included)
Grinder – got an old one that just sits on the shelf in your basement? It would do DreamWrights a world of good!
Hand power tools
Staple guns & staples
6’ or taller stepladders/ ladders
Folders for scripts (with brads for 3 hole punched paper)
Latex Paint (1/2 cans or more)
Mirrors (full length on wheels)
Quiet games and activities for ages 7 and up
Sewing machines- in good working condition
Working flashlights (do not need to come with batteries)
Always need: Crafting supplies
½” hot glue sticks
A. C. Moore gift cards
Jo-Ann Fabrics gift cards
Neutral colored thread
Sew on Velcro
Tape – any kind
Twine and String
“My Name Is” labels
Pencils (bonus: pre-sharpened)
Reams of white paper (with our without holes)
Rolls of postage stamps
3” Drywall Screws
5 Gallon buckets
Batteries (all types –not car batteries, obviously!)
Blue light bulbs
Lowe’s gift cards
Masking tape (any and all width)
New mops and brooms
New tires for the van
Playdoh for the Sensory Friendly performance guests
Short mic/ audio cables (ask Bob for details)