Wow! What a day! A really jam-packed day!
(HINT! Click on the green links for the video evidence!)
We promised the kids that after a long rehearsal of sitting and reading last week, that they’d have a chance for some drama games and ice breakers today, and we kicked off with one of those right away, in Tongue-Twister Showdown. Much hilarity ensued! Kudos to Allyson, who was the final winner of the event!
We kept on going with a couple of memory games, speed drills, and then settled in to read another scene or two.
Before lunch, Jeff did some vocal work with the students – it was a thing of beauty to hear them tone-matching and harmonizing! Later, it was a thing of terror, to hear them implementing percussion and rhythm. I don’t think we’re going to get tossed out of our rehearsal space for excessive noise. But there was ENERGY going on!!
The JUNIORS arrived at about 12:45 and started signing in for their t-shirts, turning in registration forms, and getting introduced to their director, Curt Rusan, and to Jamie, a new volunteer who got thrown directly into the deep end today! They played a series of drama games, and ice breakers, and then did some vocal work with the songs from their upcoming production. From the next room, the Seniors suddenly became aware that Christmas carols were happening next door, and were a bit shocked, but hey – when you’re doing a Christmas show, you have to expect to hear Christmas carols in September! (Actually, the Seniors seemed to be WILDLY jealous that the Juniors get to sing “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas!”)
When they had finished with their Christmas carols, they dove into their new scripts – thank you, mums and dads and helpers, who worked with the kids when they needed help!
After lunch, the Seniors enjoyed a healthy game of “I Love You But.” Can YOU keep a straight face in the face of the most bizarre statements?
After that, we read through the last scene we could to introduce the last of the characters, before the students turned in their consensus casting forms. We did a modified version of consensus casting for this play. It’s an experiment, to give the kids some more control over and understanding of the complications in the casting process. We wanted them to have a good idea of the tone and scope of the roles through our pre-reading and discussion last week and today, and then choose those they would, and would not be interested in playing, and express their reasons why, and why not. With a “no character left behind” philosophy, every role had to be spoken for, and every actor had to have a role. We also expect a balance to be found between the two big plays in the season – those expecting a big role in Pride and Prejudice need to tone down their expectations for Aladdin and the Arabian Nights, and vice versa. We want to make sure that all our students get reasonable shots at good roles, and we also work hard to target areas where our own students are asking for development of specific skills and abilities, and facilitate that build-up. It was remarkably smooth. We had to draw attention to only a few “orphaned” roles that needed adopting, and only had two or three instances where we couldn’t quite juggle something and needed to ask someone to step into a role they hadn’t listed.
While their directors were sorting through their casting sheets, we read through another scene or two, and did some more vocal work with Jeff. And then, with profound apologies for being a bit late to do so, we turned the floor over to Drake, our choreographer, and his assistant, Heather; while Kerri and Caleb were sorting through their sheets in another room, Drake put the students through some pretty hectic paces, getting them ready for dance auditions in November. Everyone worked hard – ESPECIALLY considering that it was extraordinarily hot in our rehearsal room! And it really is astonishing to watch how fast dances come together when everyone’s working!
Through all of this with the students, the directors, choreographers, vocal director, and me, running around taking pictures and helping where I could – we also had a team handling registration forms with the Juniors and getting them sized for their shirts, compiling essential information about allergies and medical conditions to ensure that everyone necessary had the awareness, and organizing everything administrative.
And, very quietly, tucked away in a back corner, a costuming team was meeting and planning how to make our kids beautiful, divide responsibilities, and to work as economically as possible!
THIS was a day. And at the very end of it, we gathered all our Seniors into one space, and to the sound of clapping and cheering, Kerri announced all the casted roles for Pride and Prejudice. We have never worked so speedily to get casting done and underway, and this is pretty exciting stuff! Our scenework will begin with the newly-established cast next weekend in the Senior Group. In the Junior group, next week will be another period of working with the script and songs, while the director gets to know his students for an efficient and gentle casting of our Christmas show.
We spilled out of our rehearsal space, laughing, chatting, and deeply appreciative of the cool breeze and sunshine.
Until next week!