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 Rachel on February 26, 2016
After School Program
One of my favorite things about school shows is working with old friends, like Geoff Rice and Sarah Goeden, whom I’ve known since college in 19-hmm-hmm-hmm. The current Loyola Park show features them along with four amazing friends of Barrel of Monkeys, current volunteer teachers, Katrina Dion and Sarah Sterling, and former volunteers, Patrick Poulin and Michael Whitten.
They are all nailing it.
And so are the Monkey veterans. The whole world deserves to see Sarah Goeden singing Kiran P.‘s “The Day the Family Pets Died” as a series of ukulele-backed, Gorey-esque cautionary tales.
And Geoff Rice has adapted Xitlaly G.‘s modern myth, “The Mountain Top,” into an epic ballad. Kassi Bleifuss plays Ocean, the girl who cries blood when her boyfriend Blue breaks up with her. Patrick will be playing that conflicted jerk, and both of them will be supported by some brazilliant blood puppets. Yes, I said blood puppets.
Posted by Bryan on January 15, 2016
As BOM teachers, we are often taken on spectacular journeys to faraway fantasy lands through the stories that our students write. This past fall, however, we were taken on a literal journey outside our typical stomping grounds of our beloved CPS school districts.
The road was a figurative minecraft—er, um, minefield of literal snow drifts, for November snowfall had collected from the previous days. Well, to say it was a minefield might be stretching the truth… In actuality, our teams of Monkeys traveled with no trouble and arrived safely and warmly at the wonderful Hough Street Elementary School, in the beautiful, historic Village of Barrington! The Barrel of Monkeys were guests in ten classrooms that day, and in each of them, we were completely floored by the amount of enthusiasm and imagination among the students!
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of going on this journey into the Hough classrooms and all the way back to BOM headquarters, the new stories, like precious gems, safely in hand—some of them…
Posted by Joe on July 6, 2015
The Monkey Minute
Here is another Monkey Minute from super director Meredith!
A Day in the Life: From Page to Stage in 18 Hours or Less
As we arrive at Loyola Park for the first rehearsal, excitement is in the air. Monkey after monkey arrives in the space as well as a director, we set up the keyboard and, wham!, it’s time to get started.
We sit in a circle and introduce ourselves to everyone. Then we hear from the teachers. They tell us a little bit about the students and the school.
Then we dig into the journals. Each monkey takes a turn reading a story or two from each child. We then warm up by stretching and playing theater games. Once we are warm, we divide into groups and grab whatever story inspired someone. Maybe it was a setting, a character, a mood, or they wanted to turn it into a rap… we listen to their idea and then we discuss and improvise our way through the story. We run it a couple of times to get down our lines and actions, and then we present it to the director and the larger group. They help us to solidify our ideas and make it look good on the stage. We then talk to the manager about what props we need to make, buy or borrow. Perhaps we need a shark hat or a giant whale? We might have one in storage or we might have an awesome person in the cast who wants to make it for the show.
We do this again and again until we have 20 stories for the show!
Songs take a longer time to work through, so we normally give that an entire three hour rehearsal. Normally we have two big songs per show and the closing number which is written by a monkey and performed at each show all year. The person who wrote the song normally plays it for the group, then we learn it, record it, and put it up on stage. Sometimes we have a choreographer that teaches us some awesome moves, and sometimes we work as a group to come up with them. We listen to the recording for the rest of the week to memorize it before our performance.
The dress rehearsal is the last night before the show. We make sure we have all the costumes and props we need for each story. We run through each song and dance and complicated story before the run, and then we do the entire show for a small audience of other monkeys and friends. The director takes notes, and we listen to them before we head home that night.
We pack up everything after the dress rehearsal. Then we meet for breakfast before the show. We like to meet in the neighborhood of the school. It’s a good time to go over lines with other monkeys, review our run list and ask any questions and get a good breakfast!
Then we get to the school, set up the stage, run a top and bottoms (which means we start and end each sketch really fast). We normally run the songs, so we can set the sound levels in the space and practice any dancing. Then the children arrive and we start the show!
From Page to Stage in 18 hours!