Focus On ... Your Funny Bone
Thanks to Mark Stanley from Punch Lion for giving us this superb insight into our recent 'Focus On ... Your Funny Bone' comedy workshops in May with 5th & 6th Class pupils.
Draíocht invited 5th and 6th class students to comedy workshops hosted by Punch Lion which would incorporate two art exhibitions currently on show. ‘Focus on ….Your Funny Bone’ integrated the ‘look and respond’ of the primary curriculum. Overall, the aim of the workshops was to awaken creativity, facilitate thoughts and opinions and introduce humour.
The two exhibitions with different styles, themes and colours challenged the students to express themselves and feel comfortable. The ground floor exhibition by Sally-Anne Kelly comprises of clay masks and photographs of the clay masks in pools of water. On the first floor, Helen MacMahons exhibition is an engaging mix of science and art. This was the start of the workshop for the students - it was a time to free their minds and develop an opinion.
Peter O’Byrne and Danny Kehoe were the two facilitators for these workshops. Trained actors and comedians. They have tricks up their sleeves for the students - “If you want to be funny. Don’t try to be funny”, Danny advised. Art and comedy have the same aim - be creative, express yourself and be true. The students were firstly asked about their opinion of the exhibitions and their feelings about them. Opinions were supported by the facilitators and reminders were given to the value of each opinion. The initial exercises aimed at making the students comfortable and free their minds. Comedy is a valued genre in performance arts. The students eagerly discussed their favourite stand-up comedians and comedy films, recited their best joke and giggled at the ‘bad’ jokes from Danny and Peter.
A short time was allocated for these workshops and Peter and Danny quickly directed the students to challenge their comedy performance skills and the students enthusiastically played their parts. Teamwork, respect, individuality and silliness were all encouraged. Creativity is important for children’s development. Comedy and art are equally important disciplines allowing you to create and stimulate your mind. They are also subjective and we hope we conveyed that message to the students.
Charlie Chaplin had his own opinion - “I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.”
Mark Stanley, Punch Lion
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