Megan and Brian have an uncanny ability, especially as a team, to get students to achieve more than they themselves think they can.

— Tim Coleman, Theater/Drama/Speech Teacher, Harding High School

We took good advantage of the wide range of workshops and master classes they offer, which in turn brought in new audiences to the festival.

— Mary-Louise Albert, Artistic Managing Director, Chutzpah! Festival Vancouver

I was truly amazed at the work and creative energy I witnessed. Thank you so much for your efforts – you were so encouraging to the kids that you wanted to push along to be more creative and it was downright hilarious at times.

— Patty Schmitz, Mother of Dimensions Academy Student

Brian and Megan are organized and clear, yet allow for much freedom of expression.

— Tim Kaari, Teacher, Gifted & Talented Program, Bloomington MN

The response to Trick Boxing was so good, we knew we needed to bring Sossy Mechanics back to Vancouver the following year to present Pieces of Eight, this time on our main stage.

 

— Mary-Louise Albert Artistic Managing Director Chutzpah! Festival Vancouver

SOSSY MECHANICS RESIDENCY OFFERINGS

We love to perform.  We also love to teach.  We believe that as artists and creative thinkers--not to mention experienced teachers--we can entice students of all levels and interests to learn new things in new ways.  And once they have us as teachers, our students usually want to see us as performers, which is great for everybody.  Kind of a win-win-win-win situation.

We have extensive experience teaching students of all levels, ranging from primary school students to professional artists. Below is selection of classes and workshops we teach, each of which can be tailored to fit specific populations, and which can be taught over periods ranging from one hour to three weeks:

Ridiculous Puppetry (ages 5+)

Bring to life the simplest (or most complex) of objects, develop their characters, and create short pieces for performance.  We spend minimal or no time building puppets—actually preferring found puppets for this workshop—so that we can focus on the techniques of puppetry. 

Character Development for Performance (ages 10+)

Employ physical, facial and vocal tools to stretch the possibilities of performers’ range of characters.  Create short pieces for performance

Ballroom, Latin and Swing Dance Class (ages 8+)

We teach everything from the basic vocabulary of Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Vienesse Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Salsa and Swing (including West Coast, East Coast and Lindy Hop), to advanced American style technique with emphasis on social enjoyment or performance.

Demystifying the Double-Take (ages 10+)

The double-take is one the basic elements of physical comedy that conveys the incongruity of two simultaneously juxtaposed elements, while letting the audience perceive the incongruity before a character does, and then letting the audience witness the character perceiving the incongruity.  Simple, right?  Actually, it can be.  And funny, too.  Using a variety of exercises we work with context, form, scale, intensity, focus, awareness, tempo, rhythm, and precision as applied to the double-take.  And then we make one another laugh.

Jazz, Tap and Modern Dance Classes (ages 5+)

Everything from introductory movement for children to technique and choreography with an emphasis on performance for advanced dancers.

Sossy Mechanics Repertoire (ages 10+)

Choreography from the Sossy Mechanics repertoire with an emphasis on performance.   This can range from short sections of our original full-body patty-cake rhymes (appropriate for all ages) to phrases from our full dance numbers (suitable for advanced/professional dancers).

 Special Features (all audiences)

Sossy Mechanics’ own twist on the standard Q & A is structured like the special features menu on a DVD.  The audience gets to choose from a variety of options such as “Deleted Scenes,” “Easter Eggs,” “Backstory & Bio” and “Bloopers,” and then perform them then and there, live on stage.

Creativity Workshops, 3 options (ages 10+)

Everybody has the ability to be creative.  Not everybody has tapped into that ability to reach their fullest potential.  We use simple to complex physical and verbal tools in a playful environment to free your mind and body in order to develop your inherent creative process. Then, we help you apply it to everything from team-building and problem-solving to making your very own show.

Option 1:  “The Secret of Our Success:  Playing with Reality”

 “The Secret of Our Success:  Playing with Reality” is a lecture demonstration introducing some of the concepts of creativity we employ in the work that we do as writers, choreographers, directors, performers and producers. 

We address the concept of playing and playfulness (a kind of egoless mindfulness) as an essential element of creativity, and then, using excerpts from our show Trick Boxing including character scenes, ridiculous puppetry and dance, we demonstrate various tools to hone the discoveries made during play.                                              

Option 2:  “The SCAMPER Dance:  Playing with Movement”

“The SCAMPER Dance:  Playing with Movement” is a mini-workshop that gets students to apply some of the tools addressed in the Lecture/Demonstration “The Secret of Our Success:  Playing with Reality.”

We begin with a series of easy and funny, mental and physical warm-ups. Then, using a physical application of the tools of SCAMPER, students create unique, playful movements across the space.  Finally, we show how the tools we used to create the movement can be applied to a wide range of creative endeavors including school work, problem solving and life in general.

Option 3:  “Playing with Purpose”

 “Playing with Purpose” is a flexible, extended creativity workshop that can happen over the course of a week or a year that builds on the concepts introduced in both the Lecture/Demonstration “The Secret of Our Success:  Playing with Reality” and the Mini-Creativity Workshop “The SCAMPER Dance:  Making Movement.”

We use a wide range of physical and mental “games” to train students how to tap into and hone their inherent creativity.  By initially focusing on physical creativity exercises, we get students, especially those who tend to be intellectually oriented, to free their minds from expectations of perfection, and to achieve a state of playfulness.

Then we build and apply a toolbox of skills that allow students to turn their freely created discoveries into a creation that meets intentional objectives (a story, a scene, a show, a solution…).


AlieNation  (ages 10+)

An original one-act we can build and set on your students.

Created by Sossy Mechanics on a group of forty six students, this playful allegory is a story about fear of the unfamiliar and acceptance of those who are different as told by humans, their alien neighbors, and a whole lot of foam swimming noodles.  We use the physical and verbal vocabularies and boundless creativity for which Sossy Mechanics has become recognized across the world, to tell a clear, engaging story that appeals to all audiences. The script can be adapted to fit different locales, and the production can be set on a range of students (from elementary to college) depending on the length of the workshop and experience of the performers. 

Additional information:

The show is fully scripted, but as described above, we alter it to make the show specific to the location of the workshop. We take into account the ages, experience, and size of the cast to create a show specifically suited for each group of performers.  As for the swimming noodles, one of the objectives of the workshop is to engage both the student performers' creativity and the audience's imagination.  To that end, every scene and prop is created through the playful manipulation of foam swimming noodles.  The effect can be as hilarious as it is wondrous.

   

READ WHAT TEACHERS AND STUDENTS HAVE SAID ABOUT OUR RESIDENCY WORK:  LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (AT THE BOTTOM OF THE REVIEWS)

Teaching Moment at Visitation High School (photo by Bill Cameron)

The response to Trick Boxing was so good, we knew we needed to bring Sossy Mechanics back to Vancouver the following year to present Pieces of Eight, this time on our main stage.

 

— Mary-Louise Albert Artistic Managing Director Chutzpah! Festival Vancouver

I was truly amazed at the work and creative energy I witnessed. Thank you so much for your efforts – you were so encouraging to the kids that you wanted to push along to be more creative and it was downright hilarious at times.

— Patty Schmitz, Mother of Dimensions Academy Student

We took good advantage of the wide range of workshops and master classes they offer, which in turn brought in new audiences to the festival.

— Mary-Louise Albert, Artistic Managing Director, Chutzpah! Festival Vancouver

Brian and Megan are organized and clear, yet allow for much freedom of expression.

— Tim Kaari, Teacher, Gifted & Talented Program, Bloomington MN

Megan and Brian have an uncanny ability, especially as a team, to get students to achieve more than they themselves think they can.

— Tim Coleman, Theater/Drama/Speech Teacher, Harding High School