Waiting for a Train

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Waiting for a Train
The Study Guide.
Version 1.5.

The Setting
Set in a train station, the show is an eclectic mix of theatre elements that creates an environment where anything can and does happen.

Performance Styles
New Vaudeville, Clown, Puppetry and Magical Realism.

Character List
Jeffrey Spoon: (pop up image) In the show he is the one in the middle. Green shirt.
Gil Travers: (pop up image) In the show he is the one on the left end. Purple shirt.
Dr. Lester Storm: (pop up image) In the show he is the one on the right end. Maroon shirt.

About this production
The original script contained no dialogue, only the situations and movements of the three characters. This style of scripting comes from the Italian Commedia Dell' Arte and is called a scenari or in English scenario. Once again a scenari has no scripted words, only an outline of the actions. The actions within a scenari are called lazzi (multiple or long routines) or lazzo (singular or short routines).
If Warner Brothers cartoons used a Commedia scenari, you might see a lazzo that reads: Coyote stands under falling rock. The sentence is short but the options available to Coyote are not.
Coyote could:
Pull an umbrella out of his jacket (or from nowhere) and open it before the rock squashes him.
Look up. See the rock. Step to one side. Rock falls next to him.
Look up. See the rock. Step to one side. Rock falls on foot. Sign pops up, "Yikes!"

Improv and Commedia are very much the same. The difference is that after a lazzo the characters must return to the scenari, where in Improv the characters would continue into unknown territory.

Commedia can also take a lazzo and change it by replacing one character for another. If you were to put into Coyote's place, Roadrunner you would change the entire meaning of the lazzo (and possibly the story ) because of the difference of the two characters and the way each solves a problem.

Before the show activities
Where is Hoboken and why do you think it is significant to the show?
What is New Vaudeville? What was Old Vaudeville?
What is Clown? How many types of Clown do you think there are? What makes a clown a clown?
What is puppetry? How many puppet styles can you name? What makes a puppet a puppet?
What do you think Magical Realism is? Find out what is it and what non-theatrical field it came from?

After the show activities
The type of puppetry used in the show is called "Found Object". Can you guess why it is called this?
How many puppets do you think there were in the show?
How do you think the show did when it performed in a country where English was not the primary language?
Draw a picture of your favorite moment of the show.
Act out your favorite moment of the show.
Make your own lazzo or lazzi, give it a title and present it to the class.

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