Posted by Amanda Farrar on June 7, 2010
Sadly, there will not be a performance of “That’s Weird Grandma” this evening. Happily, there WILL be a FREE performance tomorrow night! Tuesday, June 8 at 7pm, Barrel of Monkeys will perform Celebration of Authors at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 Martin Luther King Dr. Click here to make a reservation!
Because artistic director extraordinaire, Luke Hatton, was so generous in offering me a part in this year’s Celebration of Authors, I have been spending much of my time in the last week watching the brilliant Monkeys at work, attempting to keep up, and on my own, doing some intense Michael Jackson choreography research.
Being in the room with the Monkeys at work is like nothing I have ever experienced in my decades in the performing arts (albeit, the majority of which had a heavy dance emphasis). Just the term “team work” does not really do this group justice. I have seen the Monkeys work as a small group in the classrooms, but that controlled chaos pales in comparison to that in the rehearsal room when there are 35 Monkeys!
I was amazed watching rehearsal for “The Tale of the Twelve Hip Hop Dancing Proncess”. While Carly was reviewing choreography with everyone, Philip was teaching the vocals, and on the side, Musical Director Laura had an idea of layering in some more vocals. She touched base with fellow Monkey musician Erick to see what he thought. As he was encouraging, she went to Philip to see what he was good with it. After a quick agreement from Philip, Laura had Mari and Rachel on their feet playing around with the additional vocals. After some wrangling by Artistic Director Luke Hatton, and approximately 30 minutes, the play was ready to go!
I’ve always loved the process of art making, and the Monkeys have the process to beat all processes!
The most amazing thing is that the passion and dedication of each individual Monkey is inspired by one thing: the children. The intense urge of each Monkey to do justice to the student author’s story and make them proud is palpable. The question after a performance by a Monkey is never “How was I?” it is “What did the author do when we were performing his/her story?”
Come see the Monkeys perform 30 brilliant stories written by students this school year, and better yet, see the students’ reactions.
I Won the Wolf Races, Isabella D., Loyola Park
The Frightened Cowboy in the Treehouse, Dayshawn W., 3rd Grade, New Sullivan
Hawaii, Jayde M. & Sharaena I., 4th Grade, Dixon
The Tale of the Twelve Hip Hop Dancing Princess, Auriel A., 4th Grade, Stockton
The Model, Destiny P., 4th Grade, Kohn
Dancing Donut Rock Concert, Terrance H., 3rd Grade, New Sullivan
Dancing Donut, Randall W., 3rd Grade, New Sullivan
Famous Donut on an Airplane, Mia T., 3rd Grade, New Sullivan
Untitled (Movie), Mikquel B., 4th Grade, Chalmers
The Worst Mission Ever, Lucy N., 6th Grade, Loyola Park
Mexico City, Silvia T., 4th Grade, Little Village
The Day I Was Catch Lightning Bugs, Antonio L., 4th Grade, Dewey
The Crazy Woman and her Balloon, Julian R., 4th Grade, Little Village
Bob’s Restaurant, Isabella W., 4th Grade, Loyola Park
From The Mixed up Files of Ms. Basil E Frankweiler, Aaron W., Courtez R., Luis O., Terrance M., & Rubi R., 4th Grade, Stockton
Untitled (Ella’s Dog), .Angel C.z, 4th Grade, Trumbull
The Time We Had a Snowball Fight, Dionta S., 4th Grade, Kohn
How Bois Came to B!?! Essence E., 6th Grade, Loyola Park
Valentine Day, Ashley L., 4th Grade, Dewey
Untitled (Beach), Lynda H., 4th Grade, Chalmers
We Believe That We Should Have Creatures as Family Members, Ulises M., Andres G., Jasele V., Yahayra T., Jesus G., Alejandro R., & Ricardo S., 5th Grade, Avondale
Untitled (Cave with Cats), Emmanuel W., 3rd Grade, New Field
The Baby That is Scared of the Water, Juan G., 5th Grade, Avondale
Untitled (Dream with Beyonce), Dshawn D., 5th Grade, Paderewski
Butterflies and the Sad Wedding, Nanette N., Tonece W., Zaria S., Suman R., Michelle O., & Michelle C., 3rd & 4th Grade, New Field
The Haunted Factory, Jezabell P., 4th Grade, Paderewski
A Guy Without Manners, Daniel M., 4th Grade, Columbia Explorers
Untitled (Boy & Girl), Joshua K., 3rd Grade, Trumbull
The Cruise Ship!!!, Taylor H., 4th Grade, Dixon
Dancing!, Juana A., 4th Grade, Columbia Explorers