A Safe Place to Take Risks: Our Audition Workshops (and Halloween Rehearsal)
This Saturday’s rehearsal was a testimony to how well our students and volunteers could focus. We had a busy and highly silly night on Friday, with our Bowlathon, and we told the kids they could come in costume, as long as they could dance.
But it was an audition workshop day yesterday – preparation for our upcoming Aladdin auditions. There were things that the students wanted and needed to hear, to do, and to think about.
We divided the Seniors in half – one group with Jeff, one with Kerri. They talked about so much that was so valuable. I appreciate it so much when the directors take the time to talk to kids about their insecurities, and how their bodies and minds react under stress – going through the whys, and the hows, and then talk to them about how to circumvent the results. I love how our kids are taught to trust themselves and work through their nerves, because everything that happens makes sense to them, and they can plan, and prepare for it.
My favourite part was when Jeff reminded the kids that ours is a safe place – “a safe place to take risks.” And that’s what they’re doing, every week – putting themselves out there in front of their peers, stretching themselves, making themselves over into someone else. Why aren’t they that scared when they eventually get onto stage? Because they’ve worked it all through with their peer group, first, and been affirmed and supported, over and over again, until they trust themselves, and what they’re doing.
Every time together involves some drama games, and this day was no different. In this focus game, students tried to concentrate through line delivery without cracking a smile, or cracking up. Some of them crumbled like shortbread – but we had some seriously serious students that we just couldn’t crack!
Usually, it was almost more fun watching everyone around the “subject” fall apart laughing, to be truthful!
Matt NEVER surrendered. Never.
Julian, with a slide into one pose, took out a row of at least six people who collapsed into helpless giggles.
Jeff tried to crack Matt – couldn’t be done. Matt is the Iceman.
A giggly game of “Hah!” is always a good time for shedding that sense of the ridiculous to see what noise you can put out. When everyone feels like a fool together, it’s not a bad thing!
On Kerri’s side of the wall, she was walking them through the audition process again. They had monologues to work with, and everyone got constructive feedback, a chance to run it through, ideas to examine, and time to experiment.
Kerri gave some great ideas about circumventing some of the “isms,” – mannerisms that interfere with immersion in the character, with losing yourself for a few minutes.
They were paying such close attention. The auditions matter so much to our students – they’re very invested in making sure that this cast is strong, and right. Where they believe they suit a part, they’re thinking carefully about how best to present the qualities of the character they’re auditioning for.
I like, though, that no one stayed sitting too long. They need time to “think” physically, as well, and to relax and continue with their team building and always, always, getting to know and trust one another better.
Variations of telephone are usually fairly popular.
By the afternoon, our Juniors were with us. They were also invited to arrive in costume, but we were pretty aware that it would be an uphill battle getting a lot of work out of them on Halloween. They’re young – they’re super-excitable.
So, we worked hard to get them to cooperate through our songs for the upcoming play, and that part went quite well. They’re singing better each week.
We gave them a bit of a snack break where they could turn loose, and we could snap some photos, and then we watched some Charlie Brown movies before they worked on a craft together. Next week, we’ll get back on track. It’s all good – they’re bonding together.
And then it was time for ME to get super-excited, because Drake and Heather had arrived, and for the first time, they were taking the Seniors through the Regency dances! It was so wonderful to get started with that, and to see how happy and excited the Seniors were about it, themselves!
And because we love you, and we trust you – we’re sharing a tiny, tiny glimpse of our first moments with this choreography: