Musings about life, happiness, theater, and more.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Play

I have been working tirelessly on the school musical. Because I work at a middle school, every single thing involved in the play has to come from my head. It has been so much work.
Today, we did an assembly for the sixth graders. The kids were great! I never thought they would do so good! Yesterday was our first run-through which left my expectations rather low. The staff and students seemed to really enjoy it. We had rehearsal anyway after school because there was still so much to fix.
Coming up, I will be writing about different experiences with the play as well as my classes. I'm so excited to have a minutes to write again!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 10, 2011

5 Minute Musicals

My students (non-musical theater) do a project in the beginning drama class called "The 5 Minute Musical." These are exactly what the title implies, a musical that must be 5 minutes in length. I let them choose their groups because then they have more to go on when choosing songs. They can be about any school appropriate topic. This semester we have an American Idol spoof, the 2011 Worst Academy Awards, How to Train Your Dragon, Janitor Power, and a Happy Feet Spoof. Most of the groups are working really well together.
The assignment is basically this:

Every student must sing.
Every student must dance.
Every student must speak at least five times alone.

The show is done without music. I recommend that they use songs everyone already knows, and then change the lyrics to fit their situation.
As a class we decide how long they need for brainstorming, writing, staging, choreographing, and last rehearsing. We are inviting other classes to come in and see their work. It's a lot of fun - even for students who cringed when I said they had to sing and dance!
Next week, they will perform for each other to get more feedback so they can be proud in two weeks when we have an audience!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rehearsal Reflection

Students were supposed to be off-book for the school musical on Monday. Unfortunately, by Act 2 they had no clue what was going on. The stage manager was not only giving lines, but she also had to tell people when they were supposed to enter. I decided to end rehearsal ten minutes early so they could use the time to make Tuesdays rehearsal be more successful. Yesterday, we started at the beginning of Act 2. By our break, I couldn't have been more frustrated. They weren't even close to memorized. The main male part knew most of his lines, one girl who has a big part, and one boy who only has a few lines are the only people who knew everything they needed to do. I thought we were having a discussion about what was going on. I mean, from my perspective it's time wasting. It's disrespectful to everyone else in the room when they come to rehearsal unprepared. I didn't raise my voice; I didn't even get angry! Honestly, I was just so disappointed. It felt like there were only a handful of us in the room who care about the show.
We ended with all of them promising to do better for tomorrow's rehearsal. I just don't know if I can trust them or if there will be a difference. Their lives are packed with stuff, but they have had weeks and weeks to memorize.
Now I'm worried I was too harsh. I have to see how they do tomorrow before I'll know if our two big discussions made an impact on any of the students.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Character Analysis

Today I gave my students Character Analysis Worksheets that were three pages long to analyze their characters in their scenes. It was an intimidating handout and I had some concern that my 8th grade students wouldn't be able to handle the high school level work.
This class is especially challenging for me because it is an advanced drama class, yet not all students have taken the class that leads into it. The students who did not take the beginning class are struggling. They don't have the background knowledge required to truly grasp what I'm asking of them. Because of that, I thought they wouldn't be able to even begin the analysis. I was wrong!
They are all doing the work to the level they are capable. It is great for me to see. The kids who have the background from the previous class are going more in-depth in their thoughts on the character. The kids who didn't have the class are just scratching the surface. Either way, all students are learning what it takes to truly take on a character. They are learning how to analyze scripts which will translate into analyzing literature. The performance they end up doing in a couple of weeks is going to be so much better due to this work.
I almost didn't give the worksheet to them. Thought it was just too hard. I'm so glad I remembered something I truly do believe - Students will rise to the expectations we give them.