Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Hell Week From Hell

I always used to wonder what would happen if one of my family members died during the final week of a production. unfortunately, I found out this week. My father, who was one of the kindness most considerate people, seemed to extend that to his passing. He died during the summer and it seemed, in retrospect very convenient for everyone. All relatives, I thought, should pass away during vacations when we can take our leisurely time to mourn. I always new that that circumstance was the exception not the rule. I have gone through the deaths of many friends and aquaintances and relatives of friends in the last three months, so my Mom's passing last Sunday, was the culmination of a really depressing autumn. So, Mom passed away on the weekend before the opening of our annual Shakespeare play. But what happened to the show?

Well, miracles and angels it seems. While I was making final arrangements and saying final farewells, my students and friends, colleagues and admistrators were filling in, helping out and stepping up. Rehearsals were held, tech was continued and work progressed. I chose to return on Wednesday evening, even though the funeral was held that morning. "The show must go on" and all that stuff, I suppose. But also, because my mother would always say, from her healthiest moments to her final week in the hospital: " Go. You do what you gotta do. I'll be here. I'm not going anywhere." So, I returned to work and rehearsals, to find a truly dedicated and hard working group of people.
Tonight was opening night. We made it. A half hour late, but so what, that had happened under much more optimal conditions in the past. Running time was within the confines of the show that we expected. The result? Pleasing to the audience and pleasing to me because the structure of the show and the basic bones, as it were, are there. The focus, effort and commitment are there. The students, without exception, from the box office to the backstage followed thru and executed 100%. They really rose to the occassion and proved to me that they really have learned something in Drama.
Now, its up to me to complete my contribution. The students have been doing all this hard work without benefit of directorial feedback and guidance. Scenes still need work, characters still need development, but all that comes from the director's feedback and the in which to execute the necessary changes. I will now begin to contribute my final share of the workload. It won't be easy, and it may not be kind but I expect and hope that in a follow up blog, I can report a more than successful final product.
My mom was always proud of the work that I did on shows. She always appreciated the hard work that students put into the productions and enjoyed the energy and delight that came from student performances.
I know thats she is proud of the effort on this one because, I know I am.
Bravo, On Tour and thank you.

Now, let's really do it right.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Improv Night

Well gang, a slow start but some real nice high spots. Overall, an enjoyable evening. Good first half. upa nd down second.Great participation but we need to deal with visual prescence and decorum when on stage. The audience needs to make noise not you. Freeze frame must allow the scenes to develop- 3 -5 lines befoe freezing. Too many personal in jokes and name calling. No one cares or gets "in" Jokes, especially parents. Care is also needed in adressing people. Characters or titles need to be used not Rob, Jeff or Daria etc. Play CROW!! Jordana sank into the whale tank because she forgot to play CROW. Great slideshow with Eric and Lou. Bravo to Max and team for one of the best Love Connections ever. Too many Bean skits but I was looking for a good solid finish but we didn't get one. Sweeney-- nope- sorry, Rent OK but too much. Presidential good start but I needed to see it to tweak it. It was too long and lost steam. We are also improving on interrogation but it has a way to go as does Numbers. Oh well, we have lots more to too next time at Holiday improv/ Variety Night and during Competition Improv Sports.
Comment as you see fit.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fall 2005 Drama Notes

Taming of the Shrew opens in October in a Felliniesque environment. Our Dinner Theatre will be an Italian Wedding complete with Lounge acts and "Italian" love songs. Booster support is as strong as ever with a great effort at the Merrick and Bellmore Street fairs. Good community relations were fostered along with good publicity for On Tour. It was also a nice fundraiser with an Outback raffle and the students doing face painting. This gathered a fair amount for Drama and $400 for Katrina victims. Shrew rehearsals progress nicely. Homecoming, hall decorating and parade participation is coming up this weekend.
Drama Classes:

9th Grade is the largest we ever had and they are excited and enthusiastic and should make a welcome adition to the program.
10th Grade is progressing well with Improv basics and acting excercises.

11 & 12 are engaged in producing a class presentation on The Golden Age of Broadway.This will be followed by a monologue repertoire and college audition/ portfolio presentation.