Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spring show

Traditionally, my school has done a musical in late May. However, changes in the last two years have made putting up a show at this time nearly impossible. There's been a big push to put more and more kids into after-school tutorials all through April (the month that Texas tests everyone), which means they can't be at rehearsals. May is also filled with tons of field trips. This year I didn't have a rehearsal with every cast member until the day before we opened, and that just doesn't work for me.

I'm thinking of changing things up a bit, and wanted to know what sounds best.

Option #1: Do the musical just like I've always done. The school expects it, and they'd be disappointed if we didn't do a musical, and when rehearsals get tough I should just suck it up.

Option #2: Do a musical, but cast it out of my Advanced Theatre class, rather than having all-school auditions. This would eliminate the after-school problem because I could rehearse in class. However, it would mean a smaller cast than we usually have with the musical, not to mention the fact that my Advanced class doesn't have a lot of singers, and it'll only have three or four boys next year. The rehearsals of the show would go smoother, but the show likely wouldn't be as good as in years past.

Option #3: Instead of a musical, do a festival of short plays. I can rehearse them all in class, and it would get even more kids involved than the musical does. It'll also be cheaper to produce, most likely. However, I'd probably take some flack for not doing a musical. Also, not all classes are equal. Sometimes I get a great class that would put up a terrific class play, and sometimes I get a class of screwups. And if I required every kid to do this, it's likely several kids just wouldn't show up. It's not like a choir show, where no one notices if there's one less alto. If a kid with a speaking part just blows it off, I don't know what to do about that.

Option #4: A Shakespeare festival. I can have my Advanced class do a Shakespeare one act, and the other classes can contribute to the festival in different ways. Variety entertainment, food service, etc. It could be a Ren Faire kind of atmosphere. However, I've never done anything remotely like this, and wouldn't know how to set it up.

Option #5: Something I haven't though of yet.

Any ideas or thoughts?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Can Go Home Again, and they Won't Make You Eat Pasta

Kevin asked me to come up to the 2009 NITS and work with some scenes, and since they're looking at Romeo and Juliet, who could resist?

And so it was that I went back to Smith College and I got to say hello to Bob again, as well as to Sandy Mack. I didn't expect Sandy to remember me at all, and he didn't, leading to an awesomely awkward moment of him saying "it's lovely to meet you" right as Kevin was saying "Meg was in this institute in 2006." Then there was lots of stammering. And yes, Sandy was wearing his "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt. I also got to talk to Trish for a little while (she's working at the Institute in the "Mimi" position). She has dyed her hair "vivacious violet" and it looks fantastic! Jenna was later telling stories about how with about three sentences, Trish was able to totally open up a scene exploration for some of the participants. The point of the story was that Trish=awesome, which we can all agree with.

The NITS folks were in a particularly happy frame of mind today, having learned "belli momba" and having done Air Broadswords. I had a wonderful time working with them on their scenes and was so excited and surprised by the things they came up with.

Later when Kevin was talking about this year's group and how happy they are, he cited two major changes this summer: #1--the weather has been cool and pleasant, and #2--the food has been wonderful. "we worked really hard to make sure that the food would be especially good." So I guess the days of pasta at every meal are a distant memory.

So there it all was: Ainsworth and the rock wall, 151 and the smelly rug, the be-mirrored dance studios, and all the rest. When sitting in the reinforcement circle, I was struck by how much they looked like us, and because Trish was there, I caught myself more than once scanning the circle for Jennifer or Mel or Amanda or any of the other 2006 NITSers.

I'm supposed to go back again next week, and I'll try to take a picture of the campus (I hope this shot of the Rose is a decent enough evocation of our summer). In the meantime, know that I'm sending fond thoughts to all of you, and for the new batch of teachers who are in that lovely period of discovering the Green World.