Looking Forward to Lake Forest

Posted by Gavin on November 9, 2018

Education School Shows School Residencies

Piles of stories on loose-leaf paper written by Barrel of Monkeys students from Lake Forest Elementary Schools near Chicago

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.


Four Barrel of Monkeys cast members putting their hands in together at the start of a sketch about lacrosse during a rehearsal in Uptown

In it to win it!


Barrel of Monkeys cast member Steph Vondell protecting the goal during a sketch about lacross in a rehearsal in Uptown

The water boy takes charge.



Barrel of Monkeys cast members rehearsing a victory dance for a sketch

Victory!



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.


Barrel of Monkeys cast members rehearsing Fartbara and the Revenge of the Cats during a rehearsal in Uptown

Fartbara holding onto Whiskers for dear life. . .



Barrel of Monkeys cast members acting as cats during a rehearsal in Uptown

. . . 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!

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