The Jungle Book
This is an essay about me and my class’s last project at the drama and dance program.
This spring we have put on the show “The Jungle book”. It wasn´t the Jungle book we all know from Disney but a modified version by Alexander Mork-Eidem. The script is vulgar and bold in a way we don´t imagine our friends Baloo and Mowgli, Baloo is an hipster who smokes weed and have anger issues, the wolves are homeless who live on the street, Bagheera is an old brothel mama who have escaped the human shackles. It all takes place in Stockholm, Sergelstorg but it´s a trashy, chaos filled Stockholm with no government and no social structures, man has gone back to the animal way of living. Eat or be eaten. In all this chaos we meet Mowgli an orphan taken in by the wolf pack, cared for by Baloo and Bagheera but she doesn’t belong in the jungle. She wants to be with her own people but since she grew up with wolfs she is nothing like the humans and she doesn’t have anything in common with the pack either.
During our work process we have worked in groups with different parts of the preparation for example one group worked on costumes another with marketing and my group worked with scenography. At the same time we worked in our groups we also worked with the script and the choreography which was mildly stressful. We were behind schedule almost from week one which is something we could have done better but we made it work. In the groups there have been alot of compromising and discussing but also alot of hard physical work. Even if we have argued alot there were always people working and helping each other with the tasks.
The class is half dancers and half actors, I am a dancer and my half of the class started our work with sitting down and planning how many dances there would be, what kind, what it would tell in the story and also who were going to choreograph it. We all agreed on a plan and started working. Some dances we would do ourselves in groups and some were going to be made by the teachers. We had from the beginning deadlines for every dance, when it should be done and when the rest of the students would learn it but we never held those. We got really stressed but the choreographies got done and we started rehearsing.
My role in the show were primarily as a dancer but I also participated in a few scenes and had three small roles. We split the dancers into two groups and distributed the dances between them so it would work on stage but a few of the dances both groups would do together. I was for the bigger part in the show a wolf in both the dances and the acting bits and I liked the role because it was very carefree, cocky and kind of mean. At the beginning I had a hard time knowing what to do inbetween lines but after a while you found a pattern of things that felt fitting and it got easier and easier to take in the other people on stage and what was happening until it felt almost natural and I couldn’t remember doing anything else in my life than screaming at Mowgli and fighting Baloo. The dancing parts was fun and I liked that a lot of the choreography were really powerful in a “in your face” kind of way. Most of the dance numbers were really great and challenging but I feel like we took it a bit easy on ourselves with the choreography and we could have challenged our ability more than we did but we were relly stressed and I think we wouldn’t have been able to handle it under so much pressure.
We have all worked really hard to get the best possible result and judging by the state of our physical and mental health by the end we all sacrificed alot to give all and be the best we could be on stage. And by the end it all fell in place.
When we got to show it in front of an audience for the first time you could almost feel the air vibrating of nerves and adrenaline backstage. Everyone could feel the pressure and helped calm each other down but I think when we got on stage and the intro started the nerves disappeared and there was only adrenaline left. The audience at the first premiere were very supportive they laughed, applauded and whistled which felt very rewarding after all the hard work. The audience helped us elevate our performance alot and for every show we did we only got better and better, we found our place on stage and it showed. Some audiences were of course more fun to play for than others. At one performance we didn´t get a single reaction from them, not even an applaud, just one at the end. Because of that you lost the energy on stage and the will to do your best but backstage we still rooted for each other and helped holding the energy up. After the show we felt as a group very supportive and altho we had got nothing from them we still gave them our performance but of course you had felt better. But overall the audience gave us amazing support and we were having the best time performing the show.
And after all of this, all the fighting, compromising, our hard work and efforts had payed off. We managed to make something we could be proud of, something that impressed people and they were talking about it. This was our last project together and I don’t think we could have had more success. Minus a few bumps in the road we have worked so well with this and it showed at the end. I don´t know about the rest but I will lock back at this and smile.