Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I had to cry "Fowl"!

I mentioned that I'm directing the two plays our 4H club is working on for the Drama Fest. I'm trying to incorporate drama games to teach them a little about the theatre, in addition to running lines, etc. So at last night's rehearsal, we played "Nuclear Chicken."

The story goes that this game was developed in the great Stanislavsky school for method acting. The set up is that everyone in the game is a chicken in a hen yard, 30 seconds before a nuclear bomb hits the farm. When the instructor says, "Go!" everyone behaves as they believe chickens would just before the bomb falls.

This is an exercise is getting completely into your character's head. A chicken doesn't know anything from bombs, so would go along just as he or she normally would, until BOOM! As the story goes, in the Stanislavsky class, most of the class was running around squawking and panicking because of the bomb. Only Marlon Brando kept pecking and hunting food, deeply enough into his character to let it over-ride his human knowledge of nuclear blasts.

So either I'm directing a bunch of little Brandos or Nuclear Chicken just doesn't work with homeschoolers. As one of my kids told me, "We have chickens, and they are so stupid, they'd probably think the bomb was food." So much for not letting previous knowledge interfere with your character. They had too much previous knowledge!

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