Wednesday, April 21, 2010

murder mystery?

Hi everyone,

I need a good fundraising show for next year's season, and I think I'm ready to delve into the depths of murder mysteries. Does anyone know a good murder mystery, appropriate for high school, that is entertaining enough to sell LOTS of tickets, and good enough that I won't be spooning my eyeballs out after 6 weeks of rehearsal?

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Questions

We performed "Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World" today at an elementary/middle school. It's a 45 minute piece that Kevin wrote which mixes facts about Shakespeare's plays along scenes, monologues, historical information, and goofiness. Think of it as a lecture/demonstration, but irreverent.

Anyway, before the show, I was talking to some 4th graders in the front row. A little redheaded boy asked me "What? is this Brittney Speares?" I could not understand his question. He repeated it "What is this? Brittney Speares?" "What are you talking about?" I answered/ (I should never be allowed to teach 10 year olds.) The kid next to him elbowed him sharply. "Dude, it's SHAKESPEARE."

So easy to get those two confused.

After the performance, we had our usual round of question-and-answer, which yielded some of the best questions we've ever had, namely:

1. "Is that stick real?"
We use a tall, twisted walking stick for Prospero's staff. Later we wondered whether the kid wanted to know if a) it were a real magic staff, or b) was it really made of wood. --and in the case of "b" what is wrong with kids today?

2. "Are you really actors?"
Well, let's look at the evidence, kid: we came to your school, performed a play, and drank a lot of bottled water. What more proof do you need?

3. "Did you two really kiss?"
This is actually one of the questions that we get asked every time, but today when I said "yes" the girl asking the question looked at me in horror and said "that is disgusting of you!!!" Perhaps, but I think it's a bold move for someone who carries a Jonas Brothers Trapper Keeper to be sitting in judgment of what is or is not disgusting.

And so it goes.

Hoping you are all well and encountering life's many joys with good humor and fortitude!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shaker Heights High School Won The ESU Cleveland Branch Shakespeare Competition (Again). Thank You Shakespeare & Company!

Greetings from the snowy north coast. Thinking of my NITS 06 days today as another of my students won our local Shakespeare Competition.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not as good as a hot dog suit

Julius Caesar, designed by Marvel.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

And the winner is...

Good news from the world of competitive theatre!

Yesterday my kids performed "The Miracle Worker." The girl playing Kate was named part of the Honorable Mention All-Star Cast (eight kids total in the district), and my Helen was part of the All-Star Cast (another eight kids). My crew was named Best Tech Crew in the district, with my stage manager being singled out as Best Individual Crew Member. Also, my Annie Sullivan received the award for Best Actress in the whole competition.

Finally, we edged out a beautiful "Magic Flute" and a spectacular "Diviners" from our closest rivals to bring home the first place play award for the first time in my school's history.

Special thanks to all my NITS friends for their unwavering support and love.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Movie scores

I'm looking for music to use for scene changes in "The Miracle Worker." I like to use movie scores because they add emotional resonance without distracting. I'm looking for a versatile score with upbeat and downbeat parts, with piano as primary instrument. Any favorites?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I had some success this week with a new lesson, and wanted to share. I always start the year with lots of nonverbal activities to ease anxiety my kids have over memorization. This week I had the kids make "neutral masks," which are just plain white masks with no real facial expression. Ours were super-ghetto: paper plates with eye holes and a yarn string around the head. Next time I'll try papier mache.

Then I took the list of adjectives we got at NITS. I wrote each word down on an index card. We sat in a circle. I gave a kid a card, and he had to act out that adjective nonverbally while wearing the mask so we couldn't see his facial expression. As you can imagine, it was nearly impossible for the class to guess the correct adjective.

But today we did the same thing, but I started them in pairs. Instead of acting an adjective alone, they got to work with a partner. And the words were easier to guess because things seemed more clear. Then we did groups of three, four, and so on (I'd give them a minute or two to prepare what they were going to present). The larger the group, the clearer things seemed, which led to a great wrap-up about the collaborative nature of theatre, and why cooperation and connection is so important in what we do.