Bringing the Show
At the beginning of this semester we switched gears on the style of things we were performing. In the Fall we did more comedy and fun ensemble building games. We got to know one another and we laughed a lot.
But, y'know, there is more to dramatic arts than slap stick and belly laughs. In the larger scheme of things, I'd eventually like Scene & Heard to be able to bring all kinds of performance to all kinds of people. I really felt that as well as "makin them laugh" we needed to learn to "make them cry."
With that thought in mind, I started this spring with a few heavier things, things that were harder to understand, harder to act because in many cases the characters were outside of my student's experiences....or so I thought. By and large they connected with the material and they were able to bring emotion far beyond their years to their performances. The students were using words like "relevant" when describing our various efforts, and thanking me in the down time for giving them a chance to act "that". Our classes were often filled with the adults catching each other's tear filled eyes, as one kid or another hit on a universal anguish and connected with the character in such a way that they truly represented the soul of that person for a moment.
That's not to say we didn't laugh. Wit and wry humor became even more of a constant this semester as we grew up. But I think that this semester was more defined by learning to understand a person who might be different than you, but who also hurts, and loses heart. I've watched empathy for a situation become a place of hope as the kids realized that not only were they not alone in difficult feelings, but that difficult feelings don't usually last forever. Interestingly enough, in the middle of this more "dramatic" semester, my house flooded. Not just a little flood either, 3/4 of my house is being remodeled and the whole thing has been unlivable for 41 days. I've been so blessed by my students throughout this mess. They've written me notes, they've prayed for me, they've made me laugh with emails and those silly conversations that you can only have with teenagers who are comfortable reminding you that you are "Performing Uncomfortable." ;) Our Spring Show is centered around a more dramatic play. Orphan Trains by Debrorah Craig is a brush with children of a different time who faced terrible things. From 1854-1929 the Orphan Train Project changed the lives of more than 250,000 children in the United States...each one of whom had a story to tell. We hope to bring this show with the reverence it deserves as we tell the story of just a few of them.
We've got two shows planned for Mother's Day Weekend. We hope you can make it.
<3 Ms. Stacey P.S. If you'd like to learn about the real Orphan Trains Project here is a place to start.