...and How to Make Those Dreams a Reality
This past month I held auditions for my fourth full-length musical at my middle school. This show involves an average of 120 students every year from cast, stage crew, student pit, and scenic design. Each year, I learn from my successes, but I learn even more from the endless bumps and “fails” (as my students would say). During these “fails,” I want to know where my Fairy Godmother Tree is or when the tap dancing Genie will make his grand entrance.
Do we middle school directors ever have a tree that produces a beautiful gown or are we ever granted three wishes?
As, I begin to plan for my school’s production, my wish list has grown - along with the number of students involved. Many of these wishes can be granted by using a teacher’s most powerful tool - their students. The students that are attracted to the world of theatre can be the most creative and dedicated group of young people ever! Once you allow yourself to let the students contribute to more than stage time - you will feel the presence of true theatre magic.
The following are my top wishes and ways that I have tried to make them come true:
1. More Hands (we can only do so much)
3. Actors that Remember Dances, Lines, and Entrances
Break your students in small teams. These teams can be filled with students of all different roles and skills. Have these teams help each other practice ensemble numbers and give each other feedback . You can even have a mini competition for these teams.
(i.e. first team to make places, first team to hang up all costumes, be creative!)
Please feel free to try these suggestions out, add your own tips below, or ask questions! Together we can make the theatre a place of fun and magic for our students and our communities!
Mark Accardi; Mongomery Upper Middle School
Do you have trouble creating characters, or teaching your student's how to develop their characters? Well, we asked our very own Junior State Thespian Officer, Maya, to describe how she transforms into her characters on stage.
Do your research
When I create a character on stage, I do research to learn the story line and the character I am portraying. I watch Youtube videos of other performers doing the role and try to imitate the actors I like best. I take any advice my directors have for me to incorporate into my character.
practice your expressions
IT'S A LEARNING PROCESS...
Becoming a character on stage has been a learning process for me. Initially, I was typecast into the sweet, little girl. Eventually I began to repeat working with directors who gained trust in my ability and this trust led to my becoming characters that were very different from what I was accustomed to. This year working as the youngest actor in a show forced me to step up to become a believable character for the older teens I was acting with. The director pushed me to become someone different-day and night. Changing how I moved, talked and danced in a way different from “me” helped me be the character. That is one tip I have to being a great character. Others are to watch and learn from others who have played the role, or see the show if it is available to view. Also, talk to the director after a scene and ask “what did I do right?", and "what should I change?”.
Putting all of these tips together help make a great, yet unique character.
Maya Jacoby, Junior State Thespian Officer 17-18