Sunday, October 10, 2010

Steppin' Out

Oy, what a week!

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday:

I stayed late after school each day earlier in the week working with the speechers. Although having a larger team (48 kids) does help us win more awards, it becomes a lot more difficult to coach each student. Unlike other sports, it's not a group thing - I can't line up all the duet acting scenes and shout "Okay, go!" I like taking the time to work one-on-one to refine a piece, but it takes a lot of time.

I cut rehearsals short at 4:00, changed into my va-va-voom dress in the teacher's restroom, and headed downtown for 39 Steps. The kids were excited, talking about the show all week. I actually had a phone call from a parent who had left the directions to the theater at home and was calling in a panic because she "didn't remember how to get there" and she "wasn't going to miss this!" because she's "50 years old and has never seen a play before in her life."

That's another thing they didn't teach me in college - how I often wind up educating the community as much as I do the students.

The show was great, the kids loved it, and they behaved perfectly. In fact, there was another school group there seeing another show. That group was in t-shirts and jeans, had stragglers sneaking off to the side smoking, and a few were literally hanging off the sculptures in the courtyard. My students were dressed up for the theater and spent the time before the show chatting quietly and taking pictures of themselves in their fancy clothes (remember doing that, Rachel?). I was proud of them.

Happily, all of the groups made it safely to and from the theater, too. One senior, Matt, volunteered to drive a bunch of student down in his family minivan. They called at one point to ask, and I quote, "Are we going the right way on Highway 6?" Which demonstrates their belief in my divine omniscience as much as the students who called me to say, "We're in a parking garage. Which way do we go now?" I checked my cell phone obsessively until the minivan o' students showed up safely. Their tales the next day of their decision to go find a Village Inn after the show for dessert and subsequent loss of direction "in the ghetto" gave me retrospective palpitations. I'm too young to be worrying on this level of mom-ness, aren't I?

The talk-back with the actors went splendidly. The actors/crew were terribly gracious, my students asked good questions, and the parents in the room seemed quite happy about the extensive encouragement for college educations. It added so much to the kids' experience to get that special attention from the company, and when Mr. Nagel posed with us for a group photo after the show, many student declared him their favorite actor ever.

All of that is why I'm working on arranging another group trip to the DCTC for this weekend to see a reading.

Friday and Saturday
Working on minimal sleep by that point, I somehow managed the make it through another overnight speech meet. I, two chaperones, and 28 students hopped on the bus after school and drove the twisty, windy, motion-sickness-inducing mountain road to Silverthrone. I turned the kids loose for two hours to get dinner and enjoy the outlet stores (which prompted one kid to raise his hand and say, "Thank you for the extra time!" Seriously - when a statement like that makes me all farklempt, perhaps I'm feeling underappreciated.) While the kids relished the retail (remember, they're Mountain Town kids - stores are a big deal to them), the chaperones and I had a leisurely dinner at the Chinese restaurant near the bus.

We got to the hotel a little after 7. After a little mix-up with the reservations, I handed out the room keys and gave the kids until 10:00 to swim and rehearse their speech pieces. Despite the fact that 1) the pool was outdoors and 2) it was currently snowing, they all rushed into their suits and jumped in. By 8:30, we had taken over the lobby and the sound of various short stories, snippets of theater, and impromptu speeches filled the area.

The hotel staff was very nice, considering. They not only let us use their lobby like that, but the manager asked me if the kids would enjoy "some goodies". He came out of the back room with four grocery bags filled with free samples of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, makeup remover, and razors. As I handed them out, the kids declared it "the best hotel ever!" And that was before they discovered the waffle-maker at breakfast.

True to our word, we taped the kids in at 10:00 and I settled in for a restless few hours of sleep. We headed off for the meet at 6:45 the next morning. I spent the meet working the judges' table, so I scheduled the judges for each round, checked off their ballots as they came back, and generally ran crisis-management. I took a lot of notes for my own meet (three weeks! Eek!).

There were some slimy things going on by the host school which hurt some of my kids, but we didn't do so badly overall - 15 ribbons and Best of Event in three events. We were back on the road by 6:00, stopped for a fast-food dinner in Frisco, and made it home through the fog, the snow, and the windy, twisty road. I gave my coat to the one kid whose parents weren't at the school when we arrived and we waited together in the bitter wind for about 20 minutes. Finally, I got to go home myself, where I promptly crawled into bed.

I woke up at 8, went to church, fell asleep in sacrament meeting three times, then went back home to bed for a two-hour nap.

My Advanced Drama class called for emergency rehearsals after school to get their play together for the show on Thursday. It's nice that they care that much. I did a Goodwill run when I got down the mountain to hunt down a few props. Now I'm catching up on TV from last week, i.e. The Office. Which prompts conflicting feelings of "Squee! Sweeney Todd! References to Sondheim on TV! Squee!" and "No, the runtime is more like 2:45, not 1:45. And how is it 10:10 in the first act of the show according to Ryan's iPad? That doesn't make any sense!" and the general squeamishness of Michael (in a theatrical setting no less). Still, Sondheim! And good for Ed Helms singing "Johanna"!

1 comment:

  1. Ack, so many comments in my head! I'll try to remember them all.
    -I thought the exact same thoughts about the Office
    -I love that you call if your va-va-voom dress :-)
    -I'm free this weekend! Can I come to the reading? can we still go shopping? What is teh plannnn?
    -Were the kids inspired by the play? I get that they really enjoyed it and admired it, but I would hope that that particular production would stir their creative juices.
    -Which ward did you go to?
    -What kind of mountain kid doesn't pack his coat?