Over the first half term of the year we have been preparing for our Halloween show, the Halloween Happening. After sessions of idea formulating and rehearsals we approached the Halloween holidays and embarked on a few long days of rehearsals on site. The rehearsals went fantastically well and so we were all excited for the actual performance, which was a fantastic success.
We began coming up with ideas on Monday September 11th with a little background of Viking and Norse Mythology, as we had decided on that as our theme. We looked at various different creatures and characters in Norse Mythology, such as the zombie like sea creature the Draugr and the Norse God of tricks Loki.
After the initial session we sent our young people home with the task of researching into some of the ideas they liked as well as finding some new ones that they also liked, the following week we looked at all the ideas and wrote them down, we worked with the young people letting them vote for their favourites which we then tried to sort them into their choice as best we could and start looking deeper in to them to see where we could find inspiration or moments of either fear of mirth from our audience. We wasted no time in working with our ideas and making the barebones ideas and plans that we would then turn into our performances. I ended up working with two of our young people to create a scene where Odins Ravens were having a discussion over a body they were eating about how he lost his eye. We spent a lot of time looking at Eye puns as well as puns about the ravens names, as their names mean Thought and Memory. Eventually we decided to add an actor for the corpse and so we decided to also look for corpse puns like ‘carry on’. Some of us also began working on music that fit with the theme and atmosphere on ‘Spooky Norse’. Choosing instruments that would get the right sort of sound across.
The following week we focused on coming up with scripts and working the music in with the scenes so that both complemented each other and fit together to create a more atmospheric soundscape to enhance the action. We kept our work free and moulded things around to play with different ideas and aspects so that we wouldn’t be set in the work we had done the week before. We tried adding, removing and changing various sounds or lines and seeing where the action could build with the sound, where it would be better having a level of independence and where the two could work together to create an engaging musical scene.
In the following sessions we focused on refining our scenes and working on learning the words and perfecting the music to a performance ready piece that we would feel happy to perform. Early on they found it a little tough and confidence was waning but as Halloween approached they became more and more confident that, not only could they do this but, it was going to be great not just to perform but also to watch and listen too.
In the Final rehearsal, at location and in costume. We began to feel we had allocated too much time as the young people were confident and it seemed they felt that further rehearsal would actually detract from their performances. After going around and seeing all the scenes in order like a full run, we agreed and gave them a break before just revisiting everything quickly before we finished up.
In my experience young people are rarely confident before a performance, especially one outside at night, but they were no only confident they were eager. On the day of the performance there was no one panicking about performing and not stage fright. Even our younger group were excited and ready to show what they had made. As everyone settled down to perform the biggest issue was containing their excitement and keeping them quiet as the performances began.
The audience had nothing but great things to say, telling us how amazing the performances and the performers were. They said that the performance by our youngest group was exquisite and really well performed. Overall the performance was really good, everyone enjoyed it and we explored some new and interesting history and music. Portraying both really well and engaging a varied audience.