Children love to act.
All of us love to act, or Dumb Charades would not be such a popular game.
One thing I stress during all my workshops is the importance of copyright. I insist that children don’t just rip images and articles off the internet, print them and use them. In keeping with that idea, I usually use my own stories during workshops, in addition to traditional tales from around the world.
A story I love is a Japanese tale of Amaterasu, the radiant one who lights up the sky. Her brother Susanowa ravages the earth with storms, so Amaterasu hides in a cave. The gods are desperate to bring light back to the world, so they call Uzume, the god of laughter and joy. Uzume begins to dance, and the gods roar with laughter. Curious, Amaterasu peeks out – the first streaks of light appear. She catches sight of her own brilliant reflection in the mirror opposite, and she emerges some more. The gods catch her, pull her out, and send her back to the sky. But every night, she hides in the cave and the story begins again.
What I love about this story is how much fun the children have with it, and how innovative they are in their use of their ‘stage’.
One child playing Amaterasu ran away from Susanowa’s storms and hid outside the classroom, peeking in by opening the door.
In most classrooms nowadays, there are projectors, so windows are curtained. Sometimes, the narrator draws all the curtains shut to plunge the earth into darkness.
My story says that Uzume’s appearance is comical, so sometimes children use props to make their Uzume look funny.
Everything is planned in ten minutes of preparation time. I never cease to be amazed.
And of course, a recent prop that I already shared – a gun made of pens used by Red Riding Hood to shoot the wolf.