Boxtales residency programs stimulate minds, encourage teamwork, build character, develop self-esteem, unlock the imagination, develop sensitivity to others, and broaden awareness of the world as well as develop the tools to create interesting theatre and tell a clear story.
Boxtales residency programs include training in: acting, storytelling, characterization and so much more! Since the mid 90’s the members of Boxtales theatre Company have been studying multicultural performance traditions to inform the work, in many cases traveling to other countries to study with master teachers in: Acro-Yoga, Mime, Aerials & Circus skills, Brazilian Capoeira, Italian Commedia Dell’Arte and the South Indian dance and martial arts of Kalaripayattu, Kathakali and Mohiniattam to name a few. Now we can bring this world master teacher training to your students!
The residencies are usually 12 sessions over a 12 week period. We like to have a minimum of 1 hour per session if possible.
There are 3 types of programs. One type is where we begin with an existing Boxtales play. This approach enables us to insure the production values are high in this limited time frame, as well as benefit the students by allowing them to work alongside the professionals in the company. (The drawback in this case is that there are fewer “juicy” roles for the students.) These programs include:
- Prince Rama & the Monkey King, based on the Indian classic The Ramayana. Prince Rama tells the story of Rama of Ayodhya and his wife Sita who is abducted by a demon king, and Rama’s journey to win her back and defeat the powers of darkness in the world. Prince Rama is filled with examples of virtue, values and morality lived out in a challenging and complex world.
- Iron John, one the best German fairy tales found in the collections of the Brothers Grimm, about a wild man and a prince. The story is a parable about a boy maturing into adulthood through meaningful rites of passage. The message of Iron John is that we all have a wealth of gold inside, and that one needs to identify, cultivate and protect it. Iron John reminds us of our connectedness to nature, and the power of the imagination, and that ultimately we are at our best when we serve something bigger than ourselves.
- The Odyssey, Heroic Tales from Greek Mythology. In this show, Greek Hero Odysseus tells of his ten-year journey home from the Trojan War. The show includes his encounters with Poseidon, Athena, Zeus, the Cyclops, the Sirens and many other adventures.
Another type is more traditional, where we teach and direct but don’t perform with the students, giving them all the roles. This program gives the kids more responsibility and some of them bigger roles. While we can’t guarantee the same production values with this approach, both the challenge to the kids, as well as the benefits are enhanced. These programs include:
- East of the Sun, West of the Moon – Is a Norwegian folktale in which a girl has to journey to find her prince and use courage and resourcefulness to free him from an enchantment.
- Cupid & Phsyche – is a Greek Myth in which Psyche is world famous for her unearthly beauty. Out of jealousy the Goddess Venus sends her son Cupid, to shoot Psyche with his arrow so she falls in love with an ugly monster. Cupid agrees but struck with her beauty, Cupid shoots himself instead and falls in love. The couple deals with the trials of trust and betrayal, while Psyche endures otherworldly trials by his mother Venus. In the end, the couple negotiates with Zeus to make Psyche immortal, Venus accepts her and all is well.
- Tatter Hood/Hat – is a Norwegian folktale in which a childless queen has twins through a magic spell, one sweet and one, “Tatterhood”, who is all dirty, wields a giant wooden spoon and rides upon a goat. The queen attempts to keep the girls apart but the girls are inseparable. When the kingdom is raided by trolls, the nice daughters head is stolen and replaced by the head of a calf. Tatterhood proves fearless and resourceful in retrieving her sister’s head and restoring her. Wrong is set right and Tatterhood’s rough ways and shoddy style are revealed to be a magical veil hiding a splendid being.
- The Snow Queen – Hans Christian Andersen’s story is about a little boy who has a piece of bewitched glass stuck in his heart. Everything beautiful starts to appear ugly to him. Soon after, he is kidnapped by the Snow Queen. His childhood sweetheart, Gerda, goes in search of him, and travels across a magical landscape on a journey which finishes in the frozen North.
- The Little Mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen’s story is about a rebellious 16-year-old mermaid, Ariel who is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince. Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch, Ursula, to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter. Our version is based on the original and is NOT like the Disney version!
- Sinbad and the Valley of Diamonds – Is a story from the Arabian Nights in which Sinbad the Sailor finds himself once again abandoned by his unwitting shipmates on a remote island. On this island, huge serpents and great giant birds called Rhuks lead Sinbad to discover the Valley of Diamonds. Sinbad is very pleased with his discovery but not so pleased about what he has to do in order to get back home.
Finally, we can create a program tailor made to fit your goals and resources. When space, time or goals call for more process and less performance outcome, sometimes we work with smaller stories, visual art, or poems to create vignettes. Feel free to discuss your needs with us if this feels right for your school.
Please contact Michael Andrews for pricing and scheduling, (805) 637-3632 or email at [email protected]
Benefits of the Program
All acting training, in a sense, is based on the simple practice of imagining what is like to be someone or something besides one’s self, thus creating understanding, empathy and awareness of others.
Some of our trust exercises, like “I’m Falling”, where participants catch each other when one of the group yells out “I’m Falling” and trustingly just begins to fall, or being blindfolded and lead through an environment, or having a group lift one participant up, over their heads and safely back to the ground, build trust in the group but also in oneself, and at the same time helps to build an expanded awareness and empathy for others.
Our updated version of the game “Red light, green light” teaches self-control, non-verbal communication, collaboration, and the importance of strategy.
Our “Mirroring” exercises force participants to look more carefully and try to do what others do. This increases attention ability as well as creating more awareness of the world around them.
“Zip Zap Zop” hones sequencing skills, memory and basic attention.
We use many bamboo stick exercises, from the Philippines, that require intensity of focus, respect for others and advanced self-control.
Many of our exercises promote theme and symbol identification, pattern recognition and stimulate abstract thinking.
We have collected many improvisation technics. “Improv” is about getting out of our head and engaged with your partners, building playful, confident and responsive communication, spontaneity, and confidence on stage or in a leadership role. One of the central principles of improv is ‘yes, and’ – the idea of accepting what your partner offers you and building on it. We bypass a fear based, territorial, guarded mode which shuts us down as communicators and instead create an internal state of generosity, connection, and self-assurance.
Our storytelling training helps us shape a message in the most compelling way for our audience. We work on the arc of the narrative, identify and hone the core or “essence” of the message, and how to make it clear and vivid. Clarifying why your audience should care, and share your excitement, make it matter, make it fascinating, make it meaningful, and make it fun. We believe that to be successful at anything in life, storytelling is essential!
Generally we see that young people learn a great deal about themselves through these programs. The fun, artistic atmosphere allows us to challenge them more than they are used to, and in that challenge they find how far their resolve goes, how they perform under pressure, that they have previously undiscovered leadership skills, as well as a host of other character defining qualities.