Welcome back everyone, today is my first post of 2019, a brand new year for a brand new post.
But what I’ll be telling you happened on December 20th, 2018. It was our PLP Winter Exhibiton. And was it ever something.
It started way back when we began this unit watching one episode of an old TV show you may know of, called “Leave it to Beaver”. It was an American sitcom show, and it idealized the perfect suburban family of the 1950s in America. After watching this video we realized in a small sense how life as an American after WW2 really was.
We had also read through the entire play called “The Crucible” as you may know from my last posts, and this will tie into our main project as well. This would be another form of historical perspective we would use in our end product.
Our class would be working as one big team to create an interactive and immersive experience for an audience. The audience would be anyone who came to our Exhibiton, and the location was our schools gym. We would design and write a script that had an acting role for everyone in the class, and it would tell a story about life in America during the 1950’s. There would be about 6 different stations/scenes that would continue the story from the last scene until there is full 40 minute experience. We would plan and execute the entire project on our own as a class, without help from our teachers.
So, we got right to it.
First we started brainstorming as a class, with our teachers there to point us in the right direction, and we wrote down multiple ideas we had for the actual story of the Exhibiton. After that class, we would come back and put our ideas into action. Unfortunately, I was away for the two classes where our class chose an idea, planned out the 6 scenes, listed all the acting roles, and drew out a basic floor plan for the gym. When I came back, I was extremely surprised to see how much they had done, and I realized just how motivated our class. I thought that I needed to get up to speed real quick.
The next stage was to write out a script and get it approved by our teachers so we could move ahead with memorizing our lines, and building our props and sets. So, we split the class into the 6 scenes and wrote out a script for each scene. Once we were all done, we compiled them all together, and our main script writers looked it over. We then presented it to our teachers, who overall really liked it but made a few changes for us. We then moved ahead.
The next thing we did was decide who got which part for the “Carousel Of Communism”, which we did by asking if anyone wanted specific parts. Another big part of the story is that we would have 4 “guides” who would take groups of 15 audience members from station to station, and also play a character throughout the story. These people would need to be able to think on their feet, and be prepared to have lots of lines. And I did something I didn’t feel super comfortable doing, I signed up for a guide. I did it because I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would be proud if I did do it well. So that was my role, and the other three guides were Adam, Claire and Sofia. And rather uneventfully, everyone else got assigned a role and we moved onto building all our props and designing detailed floor plans.
We worked hard for the remainder of our time, about a week and a half, to design and build each and every set and prop. I was really proud of our class as everyone communicated really well and was always on task. Overall it was a lot of fun to work with people who were motivated and good at what they were doing. I really enjoyed this stage of the project, as it was fun, and I realized the full potential of our class.
Then, the time came. It was the day of the Exhibiton, and every grade of PLP was working furiously to get the final details ready for the Exhibiton. Then it was time for us to bring all our stuff into the gym, and so we did. There was one thing we couldn’t build, and it was something everyone was relying on. It was the gigantic mechanical wall that comes across the gym in the center, and we were planning on using it for separating our scenes. But, of course, it would not move no matter how many times we tried. So we had to improvise, and we hung some super heavy choir curtains from some rope Alex brought, and it looked… great.
Other than that setback, the entire gym looked amazing. Everyone was in their costumes, the sets looked exactly how we wanted them to look, and everyone had some nervous excitement.
During the exhibition, we worked as a team to read cues from each other when we needed to improvise, and act off our script in our character to strengthen our story, and I thought we did this really well. It made me happy to see improvisation by any of my classmates because it showed that we were comfortable in our roles, and having fun as well. As a guide I was doing a lot of this, and more specifically, one time I totally forgot what I was supposed to say in our Hollywood scene, and since I was supposed to be acting in a movie, I stalled, and told the cameraman, Parker, that we should cut here because I forgot my line. To the audience, it looked like it was part of the script, but in reality I legitimately forgot my line and had to think on the spot.
Overall, this was my favourite project in my entire PLP career. From working together as an entire class, to learning the actual material, I found it both interesting, entertaining, and extremely rewarding. After the whole night was over and I had slept for 12 hours straight, I felt really proud of the work we had done, and feel I learned a lot about the 1950’s and the ties it has to today. This is because we also tied the Crucible to the 1950’s, and to today with Donald Trump. We related the “witch hunt” aspect from an actual witch hunt in the Crucible, to the McCarthy trials, and to Donald Trump crying witch hunt all the time about political issues today. All this was shown in our 20 minute interactive experience. Here it is below for you to watch:
I think I speak for my whole class when I say I’m really proud of what we accomplished and I went home satisfied with what we did as a PLP team.
Thats all for now.