Saturday, June 16, 2007

Show choices

I am currently trying to compile a list of possible shows I could direct this year at my new school (every word in that sentence makes me happy). I know I can't absolutely decide on a particular show before I meet the kids, but I should have a handful of shows in mind.

Typically, this school does three shows a year: the competition one act in December, a full length show in March, and a musical in May. For the musical, I'll just do one of the Broadway Junior shows. For the full length, I imagine I'll probably do a Shakespeare show. But I'm having a tough time coming up with something decent for the one act.

Here are the basic rules for the one act competition: no more than fifteen actors, no more than forty minutes, a basic unit set of platforms and step units shared by all schools. I can cut a full length play down to under forty minutes, or I can do a short play.

My problem is, I don't really want to do a children's show. It seems that most plays are either good for an audience of adults or an audience of five-year-olds. I think middle school kids are going to get bored with a "baby" show, but they'll be in over their heads with Eugene O'Neill.

I'd like to find some shows that are within the grasp of middle school students' comprehension, but could conceivably be acted by adults in a theatre for adults. I've been scouring the Web sites of community theatres, but I haven't found much that I like. I think The Miracle Worker is along the lines of what I'm looking for, but that's definitely a show I can't pick without really knowing what my kids can do. I'd like to find a show not so dependent on one or two actors, but is more of an ensemble.

A holiday show, like A Christmas Carol, might not be a bad idea. A murder mystery would be fun, but I'd rather not have to deal with English accents. I'd love a comedy, but it's hard to find a good one that doesn't have material inappropriate for kids. Any ideas?


At 11:08 PM, Blogger chitarita said...

It thrills me to no end to say, "Welcome to my world!"

I've had fun with my students doing "Rapunzel Uncut" by Mariah Everman

and "This is a Test" by Stephen Gregg

Both are comedies, both work really well for character actors.

If I think of any others, I'll let you know.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Ariana said...

I think I mentioned this somewhere on this blog, but I love the play Cagebirds by David Campton. It can be done in under an hour and can be staged quite simply. The only drawback is that it is usually done with an all-female cast. I'm not sure if it would work with a coed cast. It might be worth a look anyway.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Walker said...

One acts:
"Competition Piece" (it makes fun of One act competitions--we went to states with this one this year)

"Hush Little Celia" is also good

I absolutely agree with Amanda on "This is Test"

good luck! -mel

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Meg O'C said...

Isn't Texas, like, CRAZY about their one-act competition? I know you can get their 1,000 page rule book on line, and it has the entire list of acceptable plays, which might give you an inspiration.
The last middle school one-act festival stuff I did included a cutting of the Robert Reed prose adaptation of "The Miser," and an adaptation/expansion of a public domain piece of "The Pot Boiler" which again, is meta-theater, if your tastes run that way. Good Luck!


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