When early man first told stories around a fire in the darkness, accompanied by drumming and chanting with their elongated shadows dancing and flickering against the cave walls, they were immersed completely in the very earliest audio visual experience.
At the Carrières de Luminières in Baux de Provence every year visitors have the same opportunity of total immersion. In the huge quarry at least 100 projectors screen artwork across the vast surfaces of stone and onto the floor to accompanying music. This year the images of Chagall were given the magic light treatment.
To walk and be totally immersed within a Chagall painting, to have the colours cloak you and to step on the brushstrokes of light or stained glass lozenges of colour, make the dreamlike even more dreamlike and surreal. His early life in Russia, war, love, enchantment float by – you are on stage for the ballet of Daphnis and Chloë – you are under the dome, sitting in the red seats of the Paris Garnier Opera House – you are at the circus – while in the background the violins of old Russia and Ravels' music for the ballet bathe the space in sound.
Storytelling at this total immersion level might be beyond the capabilities of most writers. But I've been playing with paper and glue and scissors trying to introduce some far more mundane light magic as the summer trails to an end and the new term begins.
1. Some children will never have come across shadow puppets so demonstrate shadow first in a tangible way with a bright lamp and a shadow on the wall.
2. Look for interesting images online or in books to inspire shapes or ideas. The storyline should be fairly simple. Older children (9 -11 year olds) manage cutting and planning shadow puppets better than 5 or 6 year olds.
3. Have helpers in the classroom. Pointy scissors or cutting scalpels are needed for cutting holes.
4. White pencils show up better when drawing outlines on black card and Pritt glue sticks work well
5. Glue and cello-tape don’t show up in the shadow projection. So feel free to be messy and to patch.
|An 11 year old making the Palace of Saint Cloud from ZERAFFA GIRAFFA|
|See action video of the hunter at the end of blog. The lasso is twisted gardening ties.|
|Projected image of the Palace made by an 11 yr old who stands behind the sheet with light falling from behind. .|
|Water created with strips of cloth, cellophane and net fabric taped to 2 dowel sticks|
|The projected result of above. Dense fabrics show black. Netting makes froth if gathered together. |
Waving the sticks a little makes the water move
12. Things will go wrong but don't fuss. Have fun. This is not the Carrières de Luminières. We are writers telling our stories in a way that started long, long ago. And if all fails call in a professional shadow puppeteer!!!