Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good. Let's Do It Again

Thunder woke me up this morning. I looked out the window and it was pouring rain. And Lagos does not do well with rain.

In general, here are the three things you begin to notice about the streets in Lagos:

1.) No traffic lights. Instead certain, I mean, the rare, intersections has a police booth where an officer will step out to direct traffic.

2.) No sidewalks or crosswalks. Really. People just walk along the edges of where there should be one along side......

2.) "Drains." Actually, two feet wide, two feet deep trenches. Some areas are exposed and you step over them and some areas are covered over by slabs of concrete or (along the side streets)planks of wood to walk across to get to the shop of your choice.

So adding rain to this and the traffic congestion does not make for a smooth morning commute. Luckily I wasn't driving.

So when I arrived at the office, three of the puppeteers I just cast were late. I wanted to speak to all of them and show them a surprise but had to wait. I downloaded a couple of Sesame bits from You Tube (oh what did we do before You Tube?)as references of performance and pacing to show everyone and looked over a script with the director until they finally were all assembled."Well," I said to them, "Welcome to Sesame Square." And after I showed them the clips, I brought out the "surprise." Up to now, they've worked with rehearsal puppets. But in the case I was opening, that just arrived, was "them;" the real "Kami" and "Zikwe." The four of them melted; they loved seeing them and especially trying them on. "And if you're very good," I said, "You get to play with them." At the end of the week. Meanwhile, let's get back to work ...... and have some fun.

Back up to the make shift rehearsal room upstairs and I had them practice again in front of the camera and use the monitor. It started yesterday to help me make my final decisions of who could do this. Everyone of the final round tried it and suddenly going from a mirror to the camera was,...... SURPRISE!...... every movement is the opposite. So today I had my brand new puppeteers do the following: Kami comes into frame in the foreground calling for Zikwe and, starting from the back, he walks up to her. They recite the alphabet together and then walk off. And how long did this take to do? This took three hours. But wait; remember these are people who never did this before today, who began learning this Monday,just two days ago. And each time it got better and better. It happened again after lunch having them practice the classic Sesame song "Sing."

Both these exercises help them with their camera work, their pacing, their ability to take direction and their stamina ("Shake it out. Good.... Let's do it again."). And it also helps them get to know each other. After all, the puppets already have "chemistry;" now the puppeteers need to have their own.

Tomorrow? Working with actual scripts and scenes.



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