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Eubank students see puppet show, learn how to be spectators
Story of “Frog Prince” gives opportunity to provide feedback.
“What does it take to be a good spectator?” puppeteer Loren Kahn asked third and fourth graders at Eubank Elementary last week. The students in Mr. Wilson’s and Mrs. Aragon’s classes had just finished watching Kahn’s performance of “Floppo,” the story of the frog who wants to kiss a princess and be transformed into a prince.
The students responded that they needed to “pay attention,” as well as sit quietly and watch. They noted that this is a different activity from when they watch a sporting event, where they are encouraged to cheer.
Kahn and Isabelle Kessler, who have been providing the show and workshops on the “The Art of Being a Spectator: Introducing Children to Art” to schools and teachers for a number of years, also drew a contrast between a “spectator” and a “witness.”
“Witnesses are supposed to tell what they saw without any of their feelings getting in the way,” Kahn explained. “Spectators on the other hand, can bring their feelings to a performance.” She then asked the students what they had felt while they were watching the performance.
They responded, “disgust and curiosity.” Some were “infuriated,” and others just thought it was funny.
The students also told Kessler and Kahn that while the show was going on they thought about what was happening and their reaction was also influenced to how their friends and other classmates in the audience reacted.
As part of the program, Kessler and Kahn also show the students paintings, some origomi, and drawings, to get their reactions. They concluded that students have to decide for themselves what art is and what art means to them based on past experiences and what they have learned.