Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This weekend, at my Theatre Teachers' retreat, I got to do some Linklatering! Ursula Meyer came and worked with us on dialects and voice, it was lovely.

I was inspired to go back through my material from last summer: I scanned the worksheets into my computer. In the process, I found a picture of a pie (drawn by Jen, I think). It says "Ladies and gentleman, theatrical pie." And there's a hand sticking its finger into the pie. I was vividly reminded of a Frank Hildy lecture in which he said that Shakespeare had his fingers in many theatrical pies... or something like that.

I will scan this in and post it when I get a chance.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I don't know if anyone else is in the same predicament. I have been looking for a job and have had absolutely no luck. Almost all of the high school English positions I find are internal hire only. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do next? I was thinking of being a sub for a while, maybe that way I can actually get into some of these school districts. Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

For those of you interested...

Now that school is out here in the Ozarks, I finally have time to get back to my novel. Chapter Nine of Jasper Todd and the Moontree Circus has just been posted. Click on my blog link at the right hand side of this page if you'd like to read it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Ending

We're wrapping up the year reading "Midsummer Night's Dream" and I couldn't have picked a better way to finish the year. The kids love a comedy and we're building on their prior knowledge of "Romeo and Juliet" as we discuss "Pyramus and Thisbe".

Today we did the play within the play and really had so much fun it was hardly like school (much less the last week!) but I'm afraid there might be a bit of a stir around the school as a result of this play. As my third hour played through the text today, we had a great wall--I was so proud of the way he spontaneously made the chink for the lovers to speak through--however, he got a bit chatty and was distracting Pyramus, Thisby, and the rest of us. Pyramus, totally frustrated with the situation, gave birth to what might become a catch phrase for the ages.

"Man, Jerome, you talk too much! You need to shut your chink!"

We did have a brief visit about how even though that joke is hilarious among Shakespeare scholars like us, we need to be aware that it might not be the best joke to share with people who wouldn't understand it.

I think they understood, but I can't help but wonder if I will have to call on you all as character witnesses.

Such a happy ending for this year!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Full disclosure

Do I have a high-pitched voice? I've been rehearsing Twelfth Night and Macbeth for a couple of weeks now, and every note the director gives me is about the pitch of my voice. She says she doesn't mind the high, squeaky voice (?!) for Sir Andrew, but I need to get it lower for Lennox.

I keep trying it lower and lower, but she says it not enough. It already feels like I'm doing a bad impression. I say, "Thanks to your majesty," but it sounds like, "Look Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom." I say, "What is your grace's will?" but it sounds like, "Who's the cat who won't cut out when there's danger all about?" I'm trying to be a thane, but I'm sounding like a wacky morning zoo DJ.

It's no big deal, I can take criticism just fine, I'm just flabbergasted that no one has every said this to me in my life. Quite the opposite, actually. So seriously, be honest, is my director on crack or do I sound like Mickey Mouse?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I got my projected class lists for next year and my Advanced Drama class is, well, booming. I'll have about 65 kids in it, which they are splitting into two periods.

Here's the problem - this is the class that traditionally does the fall play (the one that did "Much Ado" last November), and I usually find one that allows each kid have a speaking part. But 65 kids?

So, I'm looking for suggestions - should I stick with one play, or try to direct two simultaneously (one per class)? Can I still do Shakespeare? Any ideas on a play I can cut for 60-some-odd speaking parts?

Talk to me, people!


Friday, May 11, 2007


18 days of class before final exams. But who's counting?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An On-Topic Post? From MICHAEL?

Forgive me for being so “on-topic” with this post… but I must report to you a successful high school production of a play by Shakespeare!

During the last week of April my Drama class mounted its first Shakespearean production, The Tempest. We performed in a One-Act Festival, so we were required to create a 30-minute cutting. The class decided (and I agreed) that since we could not do justice to the play in the space of 30 minutes, we would perform entire scenes from The Tempest, connected by narration. I provided the narration, and I stepped into the scenes from time to time to become Prospero (the kid originally cast as Prospero was a bit overwhelmed by the part, so he stepped back to become our sound engineer).

I think it was a remarkable success, considering the fact that this is NOT a theater class… in other words, it is not a class designed for performers. The kids in this production didn’t sign on to become actors; they just expected to read some plays and learn some theater jargon. These kids were very reluctant to perform at first.

I took them through our entire process. We “unpacked” the text, we used feeders, we did text lay-ups, we played the ball games… and, with the exception of a few false starts, it all worked.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.

The Green World has arrived in the Ozarks.

Monday, May 07, 2007

FAME - I'm Gonna Live Forever!!!

I was looking for the Shakes & Co summer theatre schedule on their website and look at the pretty face I found in the Education section!

And, yes, I'm talking about myself.
If I had written "look at the gorgeous face I found in the Education section" I would be speaking of Rachel.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


So the cool thing about my job is that I "can teach whatever I want, as long as they're learning to read."


I can spend the year reading my favorite books and forcing children to love them too? Sweet.

I'm starting a list of material to be read. I'm short on nonfiction. Any suggestions you have (fiction, non, short stories, graphic novels, anything!) would be greatly appreciated. These kids are 6th grade, reading below grade level, but I will be reading the hardest stuff with the and scaffolding like the dickens.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

I have a job.

I took a job teaching 6th grade Reading in downtown LA. It's a KIPP school, which means long hours. I'll teach four 1 1/2 hour sections of Reading (my kids also get 1 1/2 hours of Writing every day). I'll also be teaching 7-8 grade Theatre elective, and whatever I want to teach on Saturdays (one or two Saturdays each month).

It's not perfect because it's not full time Theatre, but it will be fun and great training for a few years.