1. My Adv. Drama class performed their show last week. I told them they could do two plays this term (their second one is in early May) on the conditions that the first play be
c) require no set construction or prop making, and
d) only use costumes that already exist.
They picked out a show that fit the bill, and it was...easy. Beyond the Great Plastic Fish Hunt, it really was a simple show to do. They memorized their lines, I directed them, we put together a set out of existing pieces, and the costumes all came either from their closets or from storage. There was, as always, the business of show week - there's no avoiding all the crazy. But overall it was easy.
I attribute that to a couple of things:
i) I've lowered my standards (at least for the class shows),
ii) The students are getting good enough training that the advanced class truly is advanced,
iii) I'm getting better at drawing lines in the sand that protect my sanity (see conditions listed above)
The scripts for their second show and the Intro to Drama class play should be arriving in the early part of next week. We'll do auditions and such soon, but I already told this class that we're not really starting on their second play until after the musical. We'll be using the class time between now and then to
A) Study musical theater history (Yay for the PBS B'Way documentary! Yay for "Every Little Step"! Yay for my DVD collecion!)
B) Do prep work for the musical (tomorrow - napkin costumes! Later - set painting!)
Just two more plays and the musical before the year's out. I'm looking forward to a break from production.
2) The musical is hitting that unavoidable crazy time. With the help of the Home Depot website, two textbooks about set construction, and a lot of online reading, I put together a materials requisition list for our school secretary. We're buying a lot of lumber, but I have at least one parent who will put it all together for us in a professional way and at the end of this I will have five more platforms that will come in very handy for future sets. Plus some flats, if I don't screw up that construction. Those I'll need to build myself.
I miss Mark's expertise back at DPJH. It's pretty tricky to figure out how to make decent sets when there's no woodshop at the school, let alone any tools other than a few screwdrivers and a hammer. I've bought a few tools personally out of necessity, but I wish, wish, wish we had the means in place to put together a couple of flats. And some lights. We really could use those too.
We blocked the Mob Song today. Tomorrow I tackle the Battle Scene, then Friday I'm blocking the ending with Belle, the Beast, and Gaston. I still have no idea how we're going to kill Gaston. But, like most of my blocking, we'll figure it out when we come to it.
I'm looking forward to wrapping this show up. I do like the music and I like our cast, but it just sucks up so much of my time. I keep thinking that next year we need to do an easy musical. I don't know if there is such a thing, but it would really be nice to have a simple show without special effects or tons of sets or a giant singing candlestick.
3) Humanities is going well. We're still in Ancient Greece, doing a crash course on philosophy right now. The students have had their minds blown repeatedly, first by this, then by this, then by a Greek food sampler I brought in to class yesterday (they had never had Greek food before. Mountain kids!), and now they're trying to wrap their heads around Plato's Theory of Ideas. I really enjoy this class, and I love it even more when most of the students in it are gifted.
4) I feel like I should acknowledge life outside of school in this summation, but there isn't much of one right now. I've been living up in Mountain Town during the workweek for the last two weeks, and it looks like I'm here to stay on weeknights until the musical is over. Don't get me wrong - I know I'm incredibly lucky to have a place to crash near work that I) saves me the commute and II) has wifi. I've saved over $150 in gas alone by staying up here, not to mention all the extra sleep I'm getting. I really don't think I'd be able to do this job without this option. Still, it's like living in a hotel. It's comfortable, but it's not quite home.
Three more weeks and the musical will be up. I've got an awful lot to do between now and then, but, boy, am I looking forward to the other side!
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