The Jungle book
I have soon spent three years at the aesthetic program in Skara. When we started the third class in high school 2017, it was time to do our high school work, the task was to do a performance with both dance and theatre and we chose the play The Jungle book by Alexander Mørk- Eidem. It was funny to make an old classic like the Jungle book is and many people know it, but as a modern version. Our production takes place in the future in Stockholm at Segel´s square. The town has become a jungle and the humans has become more like animals. The humans from the outside is everyone afraid of, everyone except Mowgli. Mowglis parents were killed and she grew up among the animals in the jungle. Mowgli will meet many animals in the jungle, but she feels she´s not belonging to anyone, or the humans. The play is about exclusion, classes and how it´s to not know any belonging. It´s current and had a good massage. I didn´t know at first what the audience would understand or what they would like. When the audience came to see the show, we got response and then I understood that it was really good.
When I first got my role I thought it would be fun to act Mowgli, because I meet almost all the characters on the stage, which was an experience. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but also that I would develop a lot as an actor. I wanted to create something new so I chose to make Mowgli like a girl instead of a boy. I wanted Mowgli like a tomboy, who has lived with wolves and has a bit more tough style. When I worked with my character, I did a character analysis and then I wrote what wills I had in each scene I participated in. We performed different theatre exercises at the theatre lessons to find more about your character. We did, among other things, make us stand close to or far from each character to find out ours relationships between us. After that, we did an exercise where you would find movements that you usually do not. Then we would be our animal / character in the Jungle book to hundred percent, in this case I was a child. Then we would become humans but we would pick characteristics from when we were our character. I chose that I am curious and have a lot of energy (as a child usually has). That's why I'm moving a lot with my head and looking around. I'm walking fast and almost bouncing around. My arms are continuously moving, because I can´t sit still. Mowgli is grown up with the wolves, therefore I want the food I can get. So I will take it if I see it.
We have also worked with status exercises, what each character has for kind of status and in comparison to each other. We also tried another exercise to see how one's character would move. Then someone else had to move like my character (Mowgli) and I had to say what I liked or what I wanted to change. We also had an exercise when we skipping-rope while we were going to say replies from a scene. That was because we would better learn the replies and see if we could focus on two things at the same time, jump and say our replies. When you do physical activity while you study, you learn better. I have also by myself worked with how I would move on stage and say my replies. I have spent a lot of time wondering about my character, who Mowgli is and how she develops from scene to scene.
I liked the production group I was in. We had a lot of work with scenography, but it was also instructive and it was fun to get involved and decide about something that is quite a big part of the performance that the audience is taking part of. In the scenography group we had a list of tasks, we all came up with ideas and everyone helped to get it as good as possible. We wanted to create a city that was soiled with quite a few gloomy colours like black and grey, lots of vegetation so it looked like the jungle was growing in the city. We also wanted to create level differences on the stage and so the audience became a part of the show. One of my tasks was to fix the catwalk and I made sure that the stairs were fixed. I helped to fix the trees and painted what needed to be painted. I also made some of the bricks of Styrofoam, painted them, cut out and put them up. One day I went and bought building materials and paint. I fixed the TV screens, in the cave and then there was some smaller things to fix everywhere. All together we helped to get an idea of how the construction site would look. We had to change a number of things and solve problems, which I have learned a lot from. From the beginning, we would have a floor that would symbolize that we were on Segel´s square. We tried different options but it became too expensive, impractical and we chose to spend that time on other things. We would have two TV screens, but then we could not use the both projectors, so it finally became one TV screen.
The repetition time was fun, instructive but also demanding between times. It was exciting to play theatre on such a big stage. You had to be aware of that you would play in front of a large audience and you had to use your voice correctly. It was fun to get both suggestions, but also try out new things that out theatre teacher and director Lena said. We also got notes from our other theatre teacher, it was good because he came in with new eyes and saw the performance. I had preferred if we have had more time to try new things with the character at the repetitions and that we didn´t change things in the scenes into the last, because it became a little stressful. What could be demanding was that there were long days of just repetition.
Under the performances I thought it worked well, the teachers and the students pepped each other. It was interesting to meet the audience, the performances were different because the audience responded differently. It also became more fun but it was even a bit scary to try new things on stage in front of the audience. However, I didn´t get tired of it because we tried new things. I thought the stage exchanges worked well! I tried to improve things each show.
If that's something I would like to have done differently, it should be not to have too much pressure on myself, be content with what I do. One more thing is that we in the scenography group would had divided up the tasks better. However, it was a little difficult at first to split up the tasks to everyone, because we had no clear idea from the beginning how everything would look, the ideas came over time. I still think we did a great job!
During this time I have learned to find more balance on the stage, but also who I would target the reply to, how to say replies differently and how to create dynamics in the scenes. I have also been better at solving problems and daring to try new things. I think the most positive thing was to make a production together with the whole class and the teachers. The result we can be really proud of! I will never forget this work together.