Denon wing, 1st floor - Room 75. The Entombment of Atala (also known as “The Burial of Atala”), Anne Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 1808. Oil on canvas. H. 2.07 m; W. 2.67 m.
This activity takes places in the classroom. Together, students and teachers select the works that are best suited to theatrical adaptation - a good example being Girodet’s painting of the burial of Atala. Each work is then made into a scene, and together, the scenes form a play composed of several tableaux.
When discussing their choice, students and teachers will find that some works are more difficult to stage than others. Sometimes, however, discussion and reactions can provide writing ideas.
Students write about the selected works. First, they describe in writing what they see and feel. If written expression proves difficult for a student, the teacher will ask them to express themselves orally. In some cases, students express themselves by drawing the work in question. Next come mime and improvisation. Adults collect students’ input, in all its forms, and edit it to produce the final (or nearly finished) scripts.
Once the works have been selected, groups of students from special education units and standard middle school classes can work together on a choreography involving dance and gymnastics. The groups bring one or two works to life by acting them out through movement - to the best of their abilities.
Finally, teachers cast the show – to be performed in front of an audience – basing their selection on students’ personalities and on which scene would suit them best. Students’ skills and abilities should be taken into account when making staging decisions. All students put forward writing, mimes, songs or music inspired by the work in question. Every scene acted out by the students refers to a particular work whose reproduction is placed on an easel facing the audience, and gradually unveiled.