Category: After School Program

Posts related to BOM's Loyola Park After School Program.

One Day More

Posted by Caleb on February 11, 2011

School Shows After School Program

Well friends, the Loyola Park cast has but one day left to pull off Monkey greatness.  Will they hit the mark?  Well, to know for sure, you’ll have to come to the show on Monday.  It’s going to be at Loyola Park, at 4:00, on Monday.  Which is also Valentine’s Day, if you’re in to that sort of thing.  But I digress.  I do want to give you a taste of the juicy stories that we have been tasked with adapting.  The Loyola Park Winter Show will feature a story about the effect the recent economic down-turn has had on the employment opportunities for under-the-bed monsters, as well as a story about an alien visiting a video-chat room.  The show will also feature a choose-your-own adventure story as well as a plethora of creation myths.  Ever wonder why T-Rex had short arms, or how giraffes got so tall?  Yeah?  Well we’ve got the answers!

I mentioned in the last posting that this cast has been working very hard, and now that I have figured out how to work my camera, I can provide photo documentation of the work.  Please enjoy the photos that I have provided.


Lastly, how many monkeys does it take to fix a car?  We don’t know either, but it’s definitely more than nine…

To Loyola Park! Clink, Clink!

Posted by Elizabeth on February 8, 2011

After School Program

When last I wrote you about Loyola Park, the students had earned about 200 Monkey Bucks which earned them a parade.  This week, THIS week, each group earned a total of 500 Monkey Bucks and we thought, well, we GOTTA celebrate!  So what do we do?  Have a soda pop toast, of course!
Here is Tim, Toastmaster Extraordinaire, teaching us the proper toasting etiquette:

After we learned toasting etiquette, the soda was poured and we formed a great big circle.  Anyone could raise their glass to the group and toast something that they thought was really great about the work we had done today.  Here were some things that the students toasted to:
“I want to toast to all the great performances by the groups today.”
“Cheers to all the groups that were so funny.”
“Cheers to this toast!”

Here’s Brandon raising his glass to the group:

At Loyola Park After-School Program, we find things to celebrate every Monday afternoon. Here’s to that!

It’s the day of the show!

Posted by Roger on November 22, 2010

School Shows After School Program

One last blog entry for today, the day of the Loyola Park show!!

imageHere’s our talented actor/artist Brandon Cloyd, creating props with help from the also talented Jenny Weiner.

Directed by our brilliant Oona Kersey Hatton and starring an amazing cast, this show is going to be fantastic and I can’t wait for it.  Just four short hours away! 

More pics:

imageCaleb tickles the plastic.

imageWe love puppets!  Some of the cast rehearses for a story about a rock band.  Music for this created via GarageBand by the stupendous Anthony Courser.

imageTai and Levy find each other hilarious

imageJason does not like to be interrupted when he’s working!

imageArtistic director Luke Hatton steps in to show us all the choreography for the closing number.

“Loyola Park is a blast!” says old-timer

Posted by Roger on November 20, 2010

School Shows After School Program

“What is this new-fangled blog thing?” asks old-time Monkey Roger, who is back doing a Barrel of Monkeys show for the first time since 2005!  Many of you were younger back then.

Okay, so it’s me, Roger.  Having lived in Los Angeles acting in film & television for the last five years, I am back in Chicago and rehearsing the latest Monkey show that will be at Loyola Park this Monday!  I’m very excited about it!  We have had four rehearsals and have adapted some amazing stories.  Some favorites include “The Orb of Light,” “The Time I Broke the Superhero Code,” and “Untitled (Meat Ribs),” in which I play Zeus, the son of the Titans.  He is a charismatic and powerful character so I understand why they cast me.

Also, I have written my first monkey song in a very long time, based on the story “The Day Cheeseburgers Were Made!!!’ by Diamond J.  It’s a great story about some lovely vampires who only wanted to have tacos for dinner, but after their mother mistakenly made the first cheeseburger ever, which they hated, they developed a taste for blood.  As Diamond writes, “That’s why vampires drink blood and how cheeseburgers were made.”  Now you know.

I have to confess I was very nervous about writing music for the monkeys again after being away for so long.  I wasn’t sure if it would come back to me.  Fortunately, it is like riding a bike—a superfun, slightly stressful, and exhilarating bike.  It mostly just felt great to be creative and contribute to a group again.  In Los Angeles, I loved doing screenwork—being on set is really fun—but I felt like the sense of collaboration and imagination that makes Barrel of Monkeys so wonderful is lacking out west.  I know that may sound like I’m being superior and perhaps you think this kind of self-congratulation has no place in a high-class website like this one (there I go again), but I really feel like I have been gone for so long that I have an outsider’s perspective and that this is in fact an honest point of view from a fan.  There are plenty of talented, wonderful people in L.A. who do sometimes work together and create some great work, but a lot of the focus, especially for people low down on the Hollywood ladder (which is most everybody), is on individual achievement.  Switching from that to creating for something greater than myself feels fantastic.

I also play a pregnant chicken in the show.

I Love a Parade

Posted by Elizabeth on November 9, 2010

After School Program

Oh friends, what a grand ol’ time we are having at the Loyola Park After-School Program this year.  We have fabulous students, many returning, many new, and they do so many great things each Monday that a couple of years ago we developed a system to reward awesomeness with a little thing we like to call Monkey Bucks.  Each Monkey Buck that goes into a special piggy bank of good deeds reflects such actions as respecting yourself or others, offering up a kind word to someone else, following directions, especially if it was hard to follow directions earlier, being ready to work and play, presenting a fantastic, ingenious and splendid idea to the group, the list goes on.  Each student can earn monkey bucks, but all the monkey bucks earned go towards special rewards that the whole group can enjoy.  Each of our age groups earned enough monkey bucks so fast, that we got to have a collective paper airplane throw (net value: 50 monkey bucks) in only our second week!  I told you, there is so much awesome that happens each week, we can’t even keep up!

All three groups moved up in their earnings around the same time, thus it was time for a class parade (net value: 100 monkey bucks).  The monkey teachers wrestled with ideas as to how to make the class parade as celebratory as possible, within the time constraints of 10 minutes before class ended.  The answer came to us like it has come to us in many instances past when we weren’t sure how to make something ridiculously celebratory:
Silly hats and streamers.  Obvi!

Here we all are, awaiting Joe’s (AKA Grand Marshall) instructions for the manner in which we would parade:


Everyone got into the parade spirit.  Volunteers Aaron and Jenny wore their crowns with pride, and Aaron took it to the next level by wearing that Hamburger Hat with a crown on top.  If that’s not celebratory, than, heck, what is?

Kassi brought her own bunny ears (sorry for the fuzzy images, my camera phone could not keep up with all the excitement)

Anthony provided the sweet jams on this boombox.  Yes, that’s a very fuzzy Anthony.  I’m tellin’ you, my camera phone could NOT keep up!

Here are the kids parading through the majestic stairwells of our beloved Loyola Park:

I regret not catching this on camera(phone), but wonderful members of the Loyola Park District staff met up with us along our parade route to cheer us on, only adding to our community Parade of Awesome.
I love Monkey Bucks because it reminds us all that there are so many things in life to celebrate and there are so many crazy ways to celebrate them.  I remember sitting in my living room this summer with the Loyola Park teachers dreaming up these different rewards.  I remember Anthony reading aloud some of his ideas.  He paused before he read aloud his next one and said “I’m not sure if you all understand what I mean by this next one, or if you think it’s cool or not, but how about…Wizard Visit.”
My living room shook with laughter, because one, we knew exactly what he meant, and two, because we all thought it was incredibly awesome.  I really loved my job right then.