Summer SAVY 2018: Session 1, Day 1 – Mighty Metamorphosis (Rising 3rd and 4th)
In today’s session we began with a visual riddle: what do images of, among other things, a frog, Ebenezer Scrooge, a match, and even the word awful have to do with one another? Drumroll…they are all examples of transformations, whether of biology, psychology, chemistry, or etymology. In exploring the relationships among these items, we developed the generalizations we’ll be applying to the various forms of transformation we’ll consider throughout the week.
From there we moved on to our primary focus for the day: transformation in narratives.
One famous, simple definition of a story is this: “A change, large or small, in a character’s life.” In essence, then, no transformation, no story! To see this in action, we watched and discussed a brief clip of a very famous transformation, the Grinch’s change of heart – both literally and figuratively. We practiced testing and applying our generalizations to the film.
As a final stop in our brief tour of narrative transformations, we looked more broadly at how tweaks of traditional narratives – specifically, fairy tales and nursery rhymes – breathe new life into the familiar and even reshape our understanding of the original in the process. Among the texts we considered were a modern classic picture book – The True Story of the Three Little Pigs – and what I imagine will be classics in the future – Interstellar Cinderella and After the Fall.
With these approaches to storytelling now in our toolboxes, we turned to application. How could we use transformation to craft our own stories? We began the process of planning and drafting our own fairy tale transformations and will have opportunities for returning to refine them throughout the week.
For tomorrow? Transformation through subtraction and addition. That’s less math-y than it sounds. We’ll explore how removing words from texts (or blacking them out) or adding art to public spaces transforms them in exciting ways.