Three “Brand New Stories” From Barrel of Monkeys Students

Posted by Gavin on June 1, 2018

That's Weird Grandma

Our students write dozens of stories, poems, and dialogues during our in-school creative writing residencies. We’ve been teaching in elementary schools all across Chicago throughout the school year - so we have a plethora of new stories share with you!

That’s why we’re thrilled to return to the Neo-Futurists Theater this June for That’s Weird, Grandma: Brand New Stories, featuring adaptations created during the 2018-19 school year. We first performed these stories for students in their schools, and now we’re excited to give them their Grandma premieres.

Our first performance is still a few weeks away - but in the meantime, we want to share some of our favorite new stories with you!

1. The Girl who said NO!  By Victoria V.

We love adapting stories with a social justice angle, such as this piece from Columbia Explorers Academy (our longest-running school partnership) about a girl who chooses her passion for painting over marriage. Company members Juanita Anderson and Jon Schniedman took the adaptation an extra step by turning it into an original pop song - saxophone solo included.

Barrel of Monkeys Chicago Theatre The Girl Who Said No

Once a girl named Layla and she live in a Beautiful grey house that was very big and she loved painting. One day her dad said “you have to find A husband”. But Layla said “no I am fine all alone”. Her father said “oh but there is wonderful guys out there.” So all the guys came in even if Layla said no. After Layla meet all the guys she said no to all of them the last guy came and her dad liked him but Layla said no and she ran out. So no Layla lives in a little house she made and she has no husband and still love to paint. The End.

2. Larry’s LIfe by Treavan H.

Crafting a visually-engaging adaptation through choreography is always exciting for us. This story from Sherman School of Excellence, our newest school partner, details a grandmother’s plight to rid her house of a pesky mouse. We brought the story to life by forming a maze of lasers with red string and various poses, leaving Larry the rat to navigate through with stylized movement.

Larry's Life Barrel of Monkeys Chicago Theatre

Once upon a time there was a rat name Larry he Lived in a kitchen he had to kids name Jeff and Luke and a wife name timara he had a problem every time he went to get food he almost runs into mouse traps the women who owns the house has camra’s she is a grandma who is 90 years old and has a shot gun and always watches the camra’s so if the rat name Larry comes out she will know and she can see him and see where Larry’s going one day she saw him go into the hole at the hole she put a mouse trap there.

3. Shame by Ingil E.

Many of our students’ stories include masterful use of figurative language, rhyme, and alliteration, so they sound incredible when read aloud verbatim - and this is especially true of stories written during our Level II curriculum’s Poetry Day. Rawson Vint adapted this poem from Dixon Elementary School into an R&B song to capture the feel of the language, while Jen Allman choreographed a dance with umbrellas for an extra layer of spectacle.

shame Barrel of Monkeys Chicago Theatre

It was a cold night. Rained poured puddles and sleet slid off ceilings from yesterday. I wonder with a sad sorrow sulking voice, “Do igloos imitate iguanas or impress ice?” I wandered off in my mind, sad as a shrew on a sunday with no sunflower seeds. I was wearing a bashful baby blue, crying operas of sad body language. Tears fumbled down my posters of people’s postured and pasteurized face. All left was gloom, sadder than a dog caught destroying and damaging D-Rose sneakers. Captain Crunch was Captain Crud. Cocoa Puffs were Blank Puffs. And Fruit Loops was Gloom Rings. My piano weeped and guitar wined and trombone whimpered. I was a sad moon, wanting to shine but no sun reflection to do so. Drowned in doom and gloom, no life in my room, stale hay on my broom, sad depressed mushrooms, string and yarn too bummed to be loomed. Soon, the daylight and flowers began to bloom. My piano sang, my guitar talked soothingly, and my trombone whistled. The moon peeked from the sky, & the sun brought it out. Life listened and learned, and lived lively for life in my room. Shame shimmed on.  The End.

Want to join us for the public premieres of our latest adaptations? You can get tickets to That’s Weird, Grandma: Brand New Stories here. Plus, you’ll get to vote on which stories should stay in the Grandma repertoire - we think that’s pretty awesome!

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