Leslie Elias brings masks, costumes, musical instruments and her years of expertise into the workshop, creating a unique dramatic experience for your students or audience.
Leslie Elias conducts workshops, alone, or with a keyboard player and one or two assistants.
1. Anansi the Trickster Spider (West African Folktale) For K-9
Children learn the story of how this clever West African and West Indian hero brings the stories back to the people from Nyame the Greedy Sky God. They also learn about Anansi/Anansy and the transformation of folktales from country to country. Before they act out the various animals of the jungle in this delightful comedic folktale, children learn to tell a story in dramatic form and how to use some African musical instruments.
2. Trickster Coyote (Plains Indian Legend) For K-9
This is another story of an animal hero saving the people. This time it is by bringing fire. The children use authentic costumes and music as they learn about the Plains Indian beliefs and how to make a dramatic story about one of them. The children and Leslie Elias use masks, costumes, and drums to enhance the performance.
3. The Myth of Persephone (Greek Myth) For K-9
This workshop explores the fascinating world of ancient Greek mythology with arresting Greek masks made by Robert Flanagan, a mask designer for the Muppets. Children learn about myth, Greek drama and theater, the use of masks in the role of the Greek chorus, and a variety of dramatic roles including Cerberus–the three-headed dog–the creatures of Hades, Apollo's muses, and many other fascinating characters.
4. Exploration of Creative EXPRESSION for K-9
Leslie Elias, playwright, actress and theater director, will lead students on an exciting journey through the use of masks, myth, puppets, music and movement. The objective is to fully enjoy and explore various forms of creative expression, both individually and with a group. Through theater games and exercises, children will learn to overcome awkward inhibitions and gain confidence in the joy of performing. Exposure to different cultures will awaken student's interest and curiosity about places and people beyond their home.
5. Journey of Transformations: Poetry & Drama in the Classroom
For grades 3-12
Leslie Elias, playwright, actress and theater director, will work with students of all ages, helping them to transform their ideas, images and poems into dramatic form using masks, music and dance. A variety of poetic forms will be explored including haiku, limericks, nursery rhymes, ballads, prose poems and chants. Through improvisation and dramatic play, the group will explore the process of transforming the written word into theater. The group will dramatize original work as well as draw from existing literature. A more intensive in-depth residency of poetry and drama is available.
6. Grandmother Turtle: An Iroquois Tale For grades 2-9
In this 2 to 2 1/2 hour workshop, storyteller Leslie Elias tells the Iroquois creation myth, a story of sky people and water animals and how the earth came to rest on Grandmother Turtle's back. Children then have the opportunity to act out the story using the costumes and masks of the Grumbling Gryphons. Following the workshop a group of up to 30 children are ready to perform the play for their fellow classmates or the entire school.
7. Peter & the Wolf: A Musical Journey For K-9
This is a wonderful opportunity for music teachers to teach classical music and listening skills through theater. In her delightful adaptation of the Russian folk tale with music by Prokofiev, Leslie Elias works with the children to perform the story, using costumes and masks created for the Grumbling Gryphons in the summer of 1992. The music can be on tape or, for an additional fee, provided by a keyboard player.
8. St. George & the Dragon: A Medieval Comedy
For grades 3-8
In a 2 to 2½ hour workshop, children are introduced to the traditional mummers' tale of St. George & the Dragon. In this amusing version, children have the chance to act out the parts of the ferocious dragon, brave St. George, the King and his daughter, townspeople and the hilarious Doctor, with music, masks and magic. This workshop can be part of an entire Medieval residency where other classes present additional medieval classics, such as Robin Hood and Chaucer's Chanticleer.
9. SNOW QUEEN RESIDENCY For grades K-8
This famous fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson is brought to life through the use of original music, magical masks, costumes and scenery. Actors lead workshops, which develop students' participation in the culminating show through drama exercises, improvisation, enacting fairy tales, singing and chanting. Whether a goblin, a snowstorm, a flower or an owl in the forest, students learn firsthand about the fun and creativity involved in becoming part of a theatrical production.