In the run up and throughout Scotch Hoppers members of the team will be blogging about how things are progressing and what’s been happening on Parnie Street!

 

Traditional Games from Glasgow and Sierra Leone – Salma Faraji

Traditional Glaswegian games were explained to me by the older generation; ‘PEEVER’ involving a tin of shoe polish being ‘shunted’ across the floor. The aim is to see how far it travels without actually kicking the tin! Tie a balloon to your leg, and try not to burst it by moving from one side of the field to another as quickly as possible. ‘KICK THE CAN’, as literal as it sounds, although brave folk would be waiting on the other side of a fence in tenement buildings to receive the can!
 
In relation to ‘TEN-TEN’, parents from a recent workshop group were from Sierra Leone, a mother demonstrated the same rhythm game calling it ‘AKRA’. Adding 10 counts each time you managed to dance of your partner, she said they reached 100 and more in counts, she also taught this to her son of 9 years old who gave us a demonstration. ‘DUST THE BALL’ was a game formed by packing lots of socks together to make a soft ball; people couldn’t afford to buy a new football. Setting up two goal posts, at least 10 girls would run across from one post to the other trying not to get hit by the ‘soft ball’, if hit, you were out. This is exactly like what we call ‘DODGE BALL’!
Using the building blocks, some children have developed the ‘RHYTHM’ game inspired by the performance. Working as a team we allow the children to create/direct play, which they thoroughly enjoy. On questioning  two brothers, a sister, and friend on what they were building, they gave me a very descriptive story about the use of linear green lines on the blocks and the paths drawn on the large circular planks; ‘ The stable round disk represents land, with a stream/river running along it. We are building an ‘ANT BLOCK’, and trying to avoid being eaten by the ‘ANTEATER’ below so our block has to go high! We are also trying to get rid of the water by filling it, so that the ants don’t drown’! Imagination on another level completely, exciting!

 

Parnie Street Games from around the World – Salma Faraji

Nigerian game called ‘TEN-TEN’ looks very much like a dance amongst partners, but we were assured it is a game! The player stamps their feet to a rhythm whilst trying to outwit the partner with sudden knee jerks/foot movements. The winner is established by the particular shape formed by the feet; together, apart with heels touching, right foot out, left foot out! On matching the player, you then become the leader. This is played, either in pairs, or a line of others standing to take the challenge of the individual. As it progresses, it gets so exciting; one of our parents said it was banned at her school, because they used to get so loud and impulsive playing, they never wanted to stop!
This was taught by a motherland adult whose children attended a workshop, great to have adult participation in our playground.

Deriving from India, a game called ‘GEETA’, in Punjabi uses small stones. You throw 5 stones up in the air. Seperately 1 stone, and gradually 2 stones are laid on the floor. The aim is to gather the ones on the floor before the 5 land. This was also played in 2 teams, but was always played on the streets, or on a patio!
When I asked the group from Shanti Bhavan games they remembered as children, one member, the only gentleman present described his enjoyment in playing the game, another member said it was simply called ‘STONES’ in English. They mentioned other games with elastic bands, and marbles, similar to those known.

A young girl from Italy who spoke no english, joined the playground where translated through her Mother and Pip showed speed and agility; she did gymnastics in Italy I found out later, as often you do once their speed on the hopscotch trail is seen! I asked what her favourite game was back in Italy: she said, ‘THE GOAT AND THE FENCE’. Similar to Grandmother’s footsteps, the goat is on the other side of the fence, the players try to reach the fence and climb it, without getting seen! The winner gets past the goat, intriguing!

There are many exciting games from Glasgow, my neighbour said the simplest game they played as a child; cut a pair of your Mum’s OLD tights, put a tennis ball in it, and then fling it behind and in front of you! I thought that was a great example of making games, entertainment, and almost like a version of the traditional ‘hammer throw’! There are so many variations, names of games, structures, just great to see them all explained, and some played on Parnie Street. 

 

The Day before the Day!  – Pip Hill

I’ve been crawling round in circles on my knees for hours, my back is aching and the sun is beating down, I wonder if I should have put on suncream. “Thats it Brian, is yours ready too?”. The two central games in the Scotch Hoppers wonderland are finally marked out on Parnie Street. It’s now over to the guys with the paint to start turning all our plans into reality. At last. The first spot done is red, not just any red but the red of … the red of my favorite toy ever (waterwheel), of a forgotten spade (where’s the bucket gone?), and of my brother’s tractor. Lego red. Toy Shop red. Its promise glows in the sun and if it could speak surely we’d hear: “Come On! Let’s Play!”
We open tomorrow and I can’t wait.

Scotch Hoppers Workshops  – Pip Hill

Games are play and play is freedom. Our games are not just for kids, they are a way of finding fresh forms of physical communication which we can use to create a moment of performance.  The adult workshops will help you to rediscover playfulness and through that the enjoyment of breaking the rules of everyday movement.

Every game can tell a tale. Pete will lead a process of observing how people play. Using this as a starting point, the theatre maker will then guide participants in the creation of a new story inspired by their own playfulness. A group experience in which all members can contribute.

We’re outside and on the street, see the sights and find your feet! The next step? Dance! With Salma, participants can find ways to interpret our outdoor activities and transform rules into rhythm and movement. Take our street games as a challenge to express yourself freely!

Pip Hill, Scotch Hoppers Workshop Facilitator.
Pip is an experienced performer and director working with the expressive body.

Scotch Hoppers Workshops  - Salma Faraji

To facilitate a project focusing on getting creative outdoors, revisiting child’s play and integrating communities is an exciting and rewarding challenge for any artist.
Knowing the team spirit that communication on the streets can bring, my focus is playful activity, where families and friends reunite, and identify with games that were once a daily routine and remembering the unity that was formed with neighbours when you were young;  the team games, the excitement of  racing down the streets; waiting impatiently to have play-time outside after homework.  I am re-learning the challenge of street games through children!
The Scotch Hoppers workshops will provide opportunities for various ages and abilities to express themselves ‘freely’ through dance while maintaining the focus of child’s play’

Salma Faraji, Scotch Hoppers Workshop Facilitator

Find out more about Scotch Hoppers workshops here.