Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weaving demo in San Sebastian

nice little video of the weaving loom with Koky translating!

Also I have some more pics at my personal blog at;
 Here are some pics of our trip to San Sebastian, a nearby town known for it textiles,  the looms were at least 60 years old and handmade. right down to the gears.  The whole loom shuddered as we had a demonstration by the owner.  They make largely tablecloths, placemats, bedspreads and the like.

We were accompanied to San Sebastian by Mary Culham, the wife of the Canadian Ambassador to the OAS, seen here receiving a card made by the students as a welcome and thank you.  She and husband Allan Culham were responsible for the students travelling and performing in Washington DC last fall.  She paid a visit to Es Artes for the first time and gave a lovely speech to the students

Vicente working on his Tarjeta de Textura on the floor

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Escuela Taller Graduation

Graduation day for the Escuela Taller kids. Everyone looking proud and cleaned up. Lots of beaming parents and photo ops.

A little bitter sweet seeing as the school is closed now indefinitely but I understand there's probably some things happening to try and re-open it somehow. The Mayor vowed to fight to re-open it while he is governor. So, I guess I've figured out why he's not going to be the mayor anymore.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My 28th Birthday in Suchi

What a great birthday I had in Suchi! As the students were on their break from my class, a few of them came to sing me a song: 

3 Students then invited me to a restaurant for lunch - it was absolutely enjoyable and it permitted me to get to know them a little more. 

A Piñiata was waiting for us when we came back (my 1st ever!). 
Here's Vincente kicking it:

The poor cutest Piñiata on the ground...

À la suite de quoi we had my favorite cake (fruit cake... Hummm)... And later on a drink with the CUSO volunteers/ friends of the volunteers and 35 cents pupusas... Muy rico...

And not to forget, a very "provincially personalized" card made by Jeremy and signed by the students and staff:

...I'm still smiling...

Props pics!

Another week (nearly) done, the students did a great job with my turning paper and aluminium foil into aged "metal" decorations and medallions class.

Manuel Jose's impressive medallion!

And the always camera-shy Hector - Hernan (Doble H)

And here are a couple of shots from around Suchi - on some of our many trips to the Papelaria and Mercado! 

Afternoon ramblings

Well it’s been almost two weeks now. Looking forward to an early spring if the Groundhogs at home are right. I’m sitting at Lupita’s having an after lunch cappuccino while planning my lesson strategies for Saturday’s group. Also, next we start at Escuala Taller, the trade school. We’ve worked out with them to do a value-added course for the students as their program actually finished at the end of January. They will invite whoever wants to come to stay on for a month and we are going to go in and teach them basic design and technology stuff as it relates to theatre. All of which could become very useful for them in the future in trying to realize their own design ideas.

I’ll be doing physics and applied technology of Lighting and Sound which will include basic electricity and how all of the equipment works and why. I can’t totally speak for Jeremy and Stephanie about Prop-making and Design but the ideas we’ve been meeting about is showing them about basic design concepts and drafting and production techniques to be able to promote creativity and be better able to realize their ideas. I’ll leave it at that for now.

I like the idea of teaching them what ‘design’ means. I came up with the analogy that every day that they get dressed and do their hair, it’s a design choice. And all of these choices, no matter how seemingly insignificant, influence the things they make and do with their skills they’ve been learning at school. I’ve been involved in many discussions before at different conferences about how best to teach theatre design. We’ve never come up with a great answer beyond simply getting a good liberal arts education and then add some drafting skills and techniques on top of that. It’s certainly not that simple but I’m sure many people reading this would agree that being good at drafting doesn’t make you a great artist and just because you can’t draft, doesn’t mean that you can’t create great ideas for sets and costumes etc.

In my world, I am mostly dealing with how to to realize visions. Often I can influence that vision with my own, which is fulfilling too. It’s been interesting watching the kids enjoy learning new ways to see things and start to realize their own visions. It’s also interesting wading through trying to figure out whether certain things that come up are because of culture or just because they are teen-agers. There’s a lot of teen-age stuff, like attention span, but generally, I’m amazed at how intently they listen in my physics class about sound waves vs. Light waves and Atomic theory as it relate to basics of electricity etc.

For the most part, this trip has been great to not have a show dead line to deal with so we can concentrate on theory. I haven’t taught at Ryerson for a couple years now because I’ve been coming here. I’m finding I kind of miss it. Every time I teach I feel like it becomes clearer to me how to teach things. I was explaining to my translator Melvin that mostly I just keep talking until everyone in the rooms goes “Aaaaaggh”. It starts with a couple of students, then you try and explain it another way until a couple more get it. Then you just keep trying until hopefully they all get it. It’s been enjoyable for me to teach the same thing three time in a row. I teach during the week to the full time students and then on Saturday, I condense the week into one class for half of the Saturday students in the morning, then the other half in the afternoon. Now Next week, I will start the course again with the trade school students.

I could go on and on but I’m going back to my cappuccino. It’s an overcast day here and t looks like it might rain. The pace slows down here when the sun is not out. I think a siesta is is order. Eso es todo por ahora. Adios.