Posted by Gavin on November 9, 2018
So many stories!
Last year, Barrel of Monkeys taught a shortened residency in the Lake Forest, IL school district for the first time - and this year, we were so excited to do it again! This residency is a bit different than many of our other ones - rather than just teaching in one school, we teach in nine classrooms across three schools, leading to an expansive collection of stories from students. Our school show - adapted from stories that students wrote during the residency - is next Friday, so our cast is currently in the process of reading through stories and choosing which ones to adapt into songs, sketches, and movement pieces.
Artistic Director Brandon Cloyd plans to put about 18 stories into the final show, ensuring there’s an equal representation of the classrooms we taught in, as well as a good mix of stories written by students in groups and stories written by individual students.
Here’s a quick look at two of the stories that the cast has adapted so far:
Dark vs Light
By Steven, Jonah, and Abby
It’s 1879, and the Night Riders, the best Lacrosse team in New York, are up against the Light Riders. The Night Riders think this will be an easy win - after all, they’re the best in the league, and the Light Riders are . . . not. In fact, they’re the worst in the league. The Night Riders face an unexpected challenge, though - the Light Riders’ goalie becomes injured and their Charleston-dancing, surprisingly-athletic water boy fills in.
For this sketch, our cast leaned into the old-timey setting of the story. Leo Thorpe, one of our new Artistic Associates, provided accompaniment with ragtime-style music, our performers brushed up on their silent-movie-era slang, and when deciding what props to use, top hats and evil-villain capes made the list. In it to win it!
The water boy takes charge.
Fartbara & The Revenge of the Cats
By Catherine M., Hugh T., Evan B., and William N.
Fartbara (played by Steph Vondell, another new Artistic Associate) is an 800-year-old woman who lives in a log cabin in space and farts a lot. She also loves cats, especially her cat Whiskers (played by Jean-Carlos Claudio). They have a lovely, quiet life, but that all changes when a group of aliens attacks!
This story is less prop-heavy than Dark vs Light - instead, our actors focused on using clowning and other physical theatre techniques while adapting to bring Fartbara, Whiskers, and the aliens to life. And of course, with a name like Fartbara, we had to include fart noises from off-stage that the performers interact with throughout the sketch. Fartbara holding onto Whiskers for dear life. . .
. . . but she and her cat friends won’t back down!
We still have plenty more stories to read through and devise for next week’s show in Lake Forest. Be sure to take a look at our Instagram story around 10am next Friday to see the final versions of these pieces, as well as the rest of the stories our cast adapts!
Posted by Bradford on November 8, 2017
I have to tell you my friends…..it never gets old. The reaction of authors when their names are called and their stories are performed on stage is absolutely PRICELESS!!! And there were plenty of priceless moments in Katten Landau Studio, when the Hearts to Arts show came to a close this weekend. The audience loved it, and the tribute to the graduating campers was truly inspiring. As promised here’s a few pics from the show!
Laura plays the super villain in The Rise of the Can AKA Cantastrophe
My fancy Wally the Walrus hat in Orangey & Wally Crazy Summer
Tyler’s intro for Dear Purse Landlord story
Mary, Nancy and Lindsey in Dear Purse Landlord
Thanks for reading and have a great week!!!
Posted by Bradford on October 31, 2017
New Monkeys, A New Space, the first show of the year…Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
This summer Barrel of Monkeys did a residency with Hearts to Arts, a camp run by the Auditorium Theater for kids who have experienced the loss of a parent. During the four day workshop, kids wrote amazing stories ranging from King Banana Face, Cannibal Cows, to people trying to ride the bus with no money. Adding to the excitement, it’s one of the first rehearsals in our new space, and three awesome Artistic Associates are doing their first school show. Noah Appelbaum, Tyler Liams, and stage manager Rachael Koplin are truly awesome in their Barrel of Monkeys debuts. That’s what I’m talkin’ about indeed!
Meet the New Monkeys Yall!
Under the direction of our fearless director Brandon Cloyd, The Auditorium Theater Hearts to Arts show is sure to be a blast. Check back next week for pics from the show!
Posted by Corinne on November 11, 2016
That's Weird Grandma
Our students are young, but they are not naïve. They know exactly what took place at the ballot box this week, and inside each of their brilliant minds are opinions and questions and hopes and fears about the future.
At Barrel of Monkeys, we work to provide our students with the tools and the confidence to express their ideas and share their stories. Sometimes, they write funny stories about monsters and aliens and attacking vegetables. Other times, they write beautiful testaments to the world as they experience it and their aspirations and dreams for a better future. All of their stories are important, and worth celebrating.
Today in this uncharted era, we offer the strongest words of hope we can find. Unsurprisingly, they come from a student. Please enjoy.
Untitled [Peace Lives]
by Beth C.
Peace lives in my eyes
They allow me to see what
good and beautiful things
there are in the world
I see the leaves on the trees
I see the smiles on people’s faces
I see my friends laughing
My eyes allow me to see
the bad things in the world
I see people living on the streets
I see people fighting
I see people crying
Peace lives in my hands
My pencil hits the paper
I let out all my anger
I write how I feel
My hands allow me to feel
I can touch
I can create.