The last two days of our exploration of flight, well, flew by. Thursday morning was spent working in our separate groups, fine tuning the story lines for our plays and determining what kind of puppets each group would need. Production then kicked into high gear with children working hard. There was activity all around with children collaborating and supporting and advising one another on what to do. By the time we broke for lunch we had a table full of puppets.
Jill joined us again and taught us how to make a bird puppet that can flap it’s wings using the basic techniques that we have been working with all week.
Everybody followed the steps carefully and when the first bird was done and could be manipulated to fly or be worn on your head as part of the action we had a hard time keeping up with assisting in adding the flapping mechanism as it is a two person job. And then they were off, flying all over the room.
Before the children left for the day we discussed what refreshments we could serve after the puppet performances on Friday. The only stipulation was that it had to be something that children could make themselves without (or with very little) adult support.
On Friday the excitement was tangible. The day of the show and children proudly brought their contributions for the refreshment table. The morning was spent rehearsing and adding the absolute last touches to the puppets. All the children worked together on setting up the room with enough chairs for all our guests, a very attractive refreshments table and a stage area.
During our outside time Tahirih and the children made swords out of bamboo with a handle wrapped in string and then dipped in wax. Swords and mock battles have been an ongoing interest since the FIRE programme. Children have been rolling and taping paper together to make swords but unfortunately they did not last very long. The bamboo swords worked like a charm.
Then it was showtime! I was amazed at how the children shifted gear. From being completely absorbed by the sword-making to the presentation of their show in one swift heart-beat.
First the younger group presented their modern day fairy tale set on the slopes of Table Mountain. A young student gets a spell put on him by a witch in the guise of a flying squirrel. He is a bird during the day and a human at night. He sees a beautiful girl, but finds out that night that she has a spell on her too. She’s a human by day and a fairy by night … (Yes, they do live happily ever after)
Then the older children presented their cautionary tale about the dangers of pollution. The people pollute their home planet and in the process angers the wind who has been a friend to them. The angry blows them all away to another planet. There they find a secret library where the librarian hands them a book and a map that helps them in their quest to get home to make amends.
Both plays were well receive by our receptive audience.
Then it was all over. It was time for a another school term and somehow the holiday seemed too short. I have to agree with my friend Sammy, “This is the best holiday school ever.”