Guys make appointments based on their preferences
What are the girls doing? - What are the boys doing? A lyrical-musical game
A lyrical-musical game
How do the girls argue? ”-“ How do the boys love? ”-“ How do the girls dress? ”-“ How do the boys play? ”-“ How do the girls speak? ”... A boy and a girl call them alternately Questions in the room. For the 3rd grade children in Buxtehude, this is an opportunity to observe different behaviors when it comes to girls and boys and to imitate them. When the girls simulate the boys' soccer game, the boys are amused: “No boy kicks like that!” When the boys quarrel as girls, they exaggerate excessively, pulling each other's hair and screaming. The girls are amazed at the crazy boys.
During our joint theater work since 2005, we kept looking at the behavior of boys and girls. During the rehearsals - especially during the getting to know each other - we observed that boys and girls appear very differently. Boys band together in groups, hide behind their "buddies" and attract attention. Girls are attentive, cooperate, seek support from a friend and adapt. We wanted to address this in our next project.
We found confirmation of our point of view and our assessments of the behavior of boys and girls in the books by Nikolaus Heidelbach "What do the girls do?" And "What do the boys do?", Published by Beltz in 1993. Times have changed since then , however, the different interests and skills have remained. From the classics of the nineties, new books in a new guise came onto the market in 2014. The illustrator introduces the boys and girls of today in his unmatched, typical imagery.
The covers say everything about its protagonists: Whispering girls tell each other their secrets. - Energetic boys measure their strength. Angels and devils lead through the alphabet of names. Now who is the angel and who is the devil? The reader might wonder that while looking at the pictures. Nikolaus Heidelbach, in a small modification of the title of his books, provided the idea for our production “What are the girls doing? What are the boys doing? "
At the end of 2014, Angela Witzheller, class teacher of a 3rd grade at the Harburger Strasse elementary school in Buxtehude, asked whether we could realize a theater project with the 24 children. Since we had a free hand without any guidelines, we decided on a staging on the theme of boys and girls. Rehearsals should begin in early 2015.
First of all, the financing had to be secured and organizational matters had to be clarified. The school association was involved, a performance location was determined, times were agreed in the timetable for our work with the children. The parents were informed and asked for their help if necessary, especially for the day of the performance. The search for sponsors was very laborious. There were many contacts, including from previous years. Financial support is absolutely necessary for such projects, the way there is very tedious and not always successful.
The theater project
The playful handling of gender roles, tolerance for differences and things in common were the focus of the theater project on the subject of boys and girls.
The content and aim were to sensitize the children to gender-specific behavior, to give them courage to show themselves on stage in a group and also individually. Each boy played his female counterpart, the girls slipped into their boy roles: Marlene became Marlon, Alex became Alexandra, Ben became Benina, Celine became Collin. This transformation was visible through colored fabric tubes, sometimes worn as a belt, sometimes as a skirt.
As in previous productions, poems were the focus of the theater project. With a fund of old and new texts, the collection “Me and you and tall people” (Reclam, 2013) was introduced as class reading and accompanied the work with the children.
We determined the focus of the content, but also had to deal with organizational matters. The cooperation with the class teacher was a great help and again a positive experience. We felt that we were in good hands in the college and found help and support in small things. The acceptance of parenthood for the project was an important concern for us. Again and again we encountered the concern that too many lessons would be canceled and that the preparations for class work and tests would be neglected. The children's enthusiastic reports about the rehearsals and their commitment to the project gradually dispelled the initial concerns and confirmed our work.
On the way to the piece
From February to May 2015 we met once a week with the third graders and worked with them to develop the program. Every child discovered their favorite poem from a multitude of poems. The quatrain from Frantz Wittkamp was very popular:
I am happy when I see you
i think you are so nice
I give you my H and E,
my R and also my Z.
The little reclam books were always in the satchel and accompanied the children during rehearsals. In the fund they discovered new poems, exchanged them and read them to each other. The process of memorizing and presenting was a special experience for everyone in the class.
A boy chose Hanna Hanisch's two-stanza poem for himself:
My skin split twice
I could burst.
I could be bursting at the seams
My hands are shaking.
My voice is shaking.
My skin hurts from so much anger.
I feel sick in my skin
because you were so angry with me
I could burst.
I could be bursting at the seams
out of passion.
My hands are waving.
My voice is laughing.
My stomach gurgles with so much pleasure.
I feel good in my skin
because you were so nice to me
A girl discovered a poem by Regina Rusch for herself:
I would like to have
a bag of stars
a bit from the moon
and six pounds of luck.
Then two more bowls
with sun rays,
a swing wheel and
Humor, five pounds.
I don't need any bad luck
but still a fine one,
The children identified with the poems and thus mainly selected texts from the first-person perspective, such as “Alone” (Manfred Schlüter) or “Am I the groom” (Ute Andresen) and “Mein Ball” (Josef Guggenmos).
For the plot and dramaturgy of the piece we worked out typical gender behavior and gender-independent emotions such as joy, fear, anger, anger, sadness, amazement, horror ... Improvised music and songs supported the children's personal expression. On the way to the piece, games and movement sequences were able to connect the images and create a whole.
The public performance then took place in the Forum Süd in Buxtehude on May 29, 2015. The only props on the stage were twelve small boxes from the sports fund. With Johann Wolfgang Goethe, a boy opened the dance of songs and poems over the centuries.
The bouquet that I picked
Greet you a thousand times!
I often bent down
Oh well a thousand times
And pressed him to my heart
How a hundred thousand times!
The performers were concentrated and present in the almost hour-long piece. The content and mood of the poems and songs in the seven pictures reached an attentive audience. The children spoke their favorite texts alone or in pairs during their performance. In alternation, the girls and boys gave the female and male energies their voices with the women's and men's song “Wey hai da jaydo-ho”. Equally energetic, the children presented the Spanish chant “Yo te daré” (“I want to give you”). The age-old love song "If I were a bird" was an invitation to the audience to sing along. The traditional singing games like “Hello you, take this my shoe”, “To dance, there's a girl”; "We close the gate" caused exuberance and cheerfulness in the children.
The circle closed with a poem by Heinz Janisch. At the end of the performance, the children presented the game to the group with the words:
Make a prescription
Fall in love
The South Forum as a venue with its various levels was ideal for a varied, dynamic game.
In February 2016 the Regional Theatertreffen Lower Saxony took place in the Atheneum Stade. Almost a year later, the fourth graders were able to perform again and show their great enthusiasm.
Epilogue and Outlook
As with our previous productions, at the beginning of this project, with the exception of the topic, everything is new and nothing concrete is available. We neither know the children and their preferences nor how they are together in the class. During our preparations, it is still open which texts the children will discover for themselves. Your favorite poems are the framework for the staging. We find suitable songs and select poems in which all children are involved. In addition, there are the children's own texts, dance and improvisational elements in the movement. And again a dramaturgy arises almost by itself in the course of the rehearsals. Ideas for props and costumes develop from rehearsal to rehearsal. They support the actors' performances and do not distract from them. The cooperative play is strengthened by the fact that there are no main and secondary roles.
“The children have changed,” reported the class teacher in a second grade following a theater project. We experience the development of the children from their first meeting at the beginning of the project, during rehearsals and at the premiere. Then we let the children go to school. The fact that we achieve something with our productions confirms our work and is a great pleasure every time. For us game leaders it is still surprising and fascinating that an idea can be turned into a stage-ready presentation - together with the actors.
There are new ideas for poetry projects for 2017. A staging of Elisabeth Borchers' monthly poems, which the Cologne composer Matthias Keul set to music at the beginning of 2000, is planned. A request comes from Buxtehude for a program with the poetry collection “All sorts of animals” for the new school year.
For over ten years we have been developing staged poetry with children such as “Kleines Waldtheater”, “Verhext! Enchanted! ”And Christian Morgenstern's“ The great Lalulā ”. On request, we can develop a program on a wide variety of topics with a focus on poems and songs from the centuries.
- Remmers, Ursula / Warmbold, Ursula (Hrsg,): All kinds of animals. Poems for children, Stuttgart, 2nd ed. 2013
- this: me and you and great people. Poems for children, Stuttgart, 2nd ed. 2013
- Heidelbach, Nikolaus: What are the girls doing today ?, Weinheim / Basel 2014
- ders .: What are the boys doing today ?, Weinheim / Basel 2014
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