P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S, PROGRESS by Laura Keena

 

I am happy to say that our Teen Theatre production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is well underway! No little feat, I can assure you!!

 

In the course of our tech week we have added  a litany of elements; costumes, microphones, additional props, lighting, the live orchestra…it can get pretty crazy. My hope is that from rehearsal to rehearsal our students can not only retain the new information but also continue to develop their performances as we get closer to opening night…which is tonight!

 

The audience participation element of this show has been a real work in progress. Our fearless tech crew have been drafted into service on that front, which has turned out to be a priceless asset. Having our techies stand in has given the cast a sense of control over a part of the show that had previously felt a little scary.

 

I must say, my favorite example of progress is, in spite of what has felt like a fast and furious schedule, these young actors are dedicated enough to put in the extra work to make this show extraordinary.

I really H-O-P-E everyone who knows these talented teens sees this show. I’m delighted and proud to say that there are some genuinely great performances to see this weekend. Don’t miss it!! May 15th & 16th @ 7pm, 17th @ 5pm, 18th @ 3pm.

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Deck the Halls with…Wait…Did I Miss it? by Jenn Doubleday

   We sort of forgot we had this blog.

   Actually, that isn’t true.  I forgot we had this blog.  Mea culpa.

   But there were back-to-back tech weeks, and back-to-back holidays, and  I hope that the time you would have spent reading our updates was spent drinking hot cocoa with your family instead.  At least, that’s what I did!

   The holidays are a lot like tech week.  The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or say, planning a birthday party for your almost-two-year-old that may have gotten slightly out of hand, are enormously difficult and enormously rewarding.  You spend all week planning for the big day; shopping, cleaning, decorating, and failing to live up to your Pinterest board, all in the hopes that your dozen family members will enjoy themselves for a few hours.  It’s a week full of rushing and bustling, trying to perfect every tiny detail for a few moments of holiday bliss.  And that, in a nutshell, is what we attempt every week at SCT.

   Of course, instead of a few family members we invite 150 strangers, and instead of having them over once in December we perform about 210 days a year.  And they don’t clean up after themselves. Theatre, like the holidays, is an ephemeral pastime.  All the hard work and effort to plan that one magical moment is here today, and in the prop room tomorrow.  We rehearse three-minute musical numbers for hours at a time, and spend weeks rigging special effects that last only one second of each performance.  In doing so, we hope to create memories that will last a lifetime.

   Long after the cookies have been devoured and the wrapping paper has been thrown away, the memories of entertaining your loved ones remain.  You can laugh that the turkey was still slightly frozen in the middle, and you can start planning to make next year even better than this one.

   On opening night, sometimes the paint is still a little wet. Sometimes the magic trick doesn’t work like it should.  No matter what, we get the unique opportunity to make each show better than the one before it.  We get to see smiles on  children’s faces and delight in their eyes all year round!  Yes, tech week is just like the holidays, and I for one, am exceedingly glad that I get to live them all year round.

   This holiday season, SCT got an amazing gift in the form of a newly refinished stage!  Thanks to Mike Prow, Vann Doubleday, Eric G. Mitchell, Mark Padgett, Glory Padgett, Chris Bass, Josh Riggs, and Corbin Hernandez, our 7-year-old stage got a facelift, and boy, does she look beautiful!  You can check out photos of the entire process here…and while you’re there, don’t forget to like our page!  Thank you for being part of our zany SCT family.  Happy New(ish) Year!

Light Cues & Costumes & Props, OH MY! by Carmel Cowart

     Our Creative Dramatics 1 (2nd-5th grade) class production of Tiny Thumbelina opens tomorrow! The cast and crew have been knee-deep in Tech Week; putting all the finishing touches on costumes, set changes, lighting, props, hair and makeup. I am so very proud of each of these young performers! Their resilience and adaptability to change is quite impressive.

     For those that may not know, the CD1 class, directed by myself and Lauren Baxter, rehearses in SCT’s upstairs Green Room for eleven weeks of class. It is not until Monday of Tech Week (four days before their show opens!) that they step foot onto the stage where they actually perform the show. As their director, I aim to introduce only one new element of their show at each tech rehearsal, so as not to overwhelm them. On Monday, we run the show for the first time on the stage using props. Tuesday, we add in light cues. Wednesday, we start using mics. And Thursday, we do a final dress rehearsal with all those elements in full costume. Let me tell you, these kids take all those curve balls and knock ’em out of the park, er… the theatre! What I really love is that this cast has adapted to all of that change with the biggest smiles on their faces.

     Throughout each rehearsal, I have had the amazing privilege of witnessing their love of performing grow as they learn, and then watching them put what they learn into ACTION. I am filled with sheer excitement for them as opening night of Tiny Thumbelina approaches! There is so much more that I wish I could share with you, our readers, about these wonderful students and this show. However, since they are the brawn, beauty, and brains of this production, I thought it only appropriate to let them share a little with you. Here are a few of their thoughts about Tech Week, opening night, and being a theatre kid.


Q:
What’s your favorite part of tech week?

A: “Putting the whole show together on the stage.” – Megan Cullen

      “Costumes!” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

      “Props, because I get a sword in this play.” – Aidan Hayes

      “Opening night, of course!” – Isabella Webster

Q: What do you like about theatre?

A: “Being on the stage in the spotlight.” – Maggie Rabitsch

      “The adrenaline from performing and getting to play challenging roles.” – Noah Eastman

      “It’s fun!” – Amelie Steffen

      “Horrible things never happen here, only good things always. And it helps prepare you for college.” – Terrence Bush

Q: What’s your favorite line from Tiny Thumbelina?

A: “I like the mud.” – Maggie Rabitsch

     “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

     “I hate the word FROG!” – Terrence Bush

     “You can’t be ugly when you’re rich.” – Jolie-Anne Brosseau

Q: What’s your favorite play you’ve seen?

A: My Fair Lady” – Ansley McKee

      “Huckleberry Finn” – Aidan Hayes

      “Charlotte’s Web” – Megan Cullen

      “All of the SCT plays, because they’re SO GOOD!” – Noah Eastman

Q: What’s your dream role?

A: “Donkey in Shrek” – Abbey Kate Daugherty

      “Blue Fairy in Pinnochio” – Megan Cullen

      “Sheriff in Robin Hood” – Terrence Bush

      “Pinnochio” – Noah Eastman

Q: Would you like for everyone you know to come see your show this weekend?

A: An emphatic “YES!” from the entire Tiny Thumbelina cast!

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     So come join us at SCT for Tiny Thumbelina,  a tale of love, adventure, and finding home.

Friday, November 15th at 7:00pm.

Saturday, November 16th at 3:00pm

Sunday, November 17th at 3:00pm

Click HERE for tickets!

SMILE! by Maggie Lee Hart

     “A Rollicking Band of Pirates, We” have leaped through the stage doors of SCT and have been skipping to the tunes of this operatic comedy for the last twelve weeks.  These “rollicking” actors consist of middle school students enrolled in our Creative Dramatics II Class, who are now entering Tech Week for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Jr!, directed by Mr. Chris Blair and myself.  Mr. Mike and Mrs. April Prow will be our Lighting and Sound Design team, assistance in Set Design by Mr. Eric Mitchell, and assistance with Costuming by the lovely Bonnie Juengert and Renee McMahon.

     So what is tech week?  Tech Week is the last week of rehearsals when all elements of a production come together and the magic of finalizing the show begins.  By the time these technical rehearsals begin, the cast of a production should feel comfortable and secure with the flow and orchestration of their show.  This is an important element, because much of the focus from the Director will be geared towards the technical elements of the production instead of the actors.  It is at this time that we rely on these young actors for patience and concentration.  Mr. Chris, with his ability to move larger set pieces, will be backstage with the students to make sure all is running calmly and quietly, while I will be up at the lighting board behind the sparkly glittered sign that says “SMILE”!  I love this sign because it is a friendly reminder that what we are doing on that stage is a play, and to take it literally, it is just playing!  What fun it is to be able to portray a pirate with a peg leg, or a silly and flexible police officer, or even a maiden who has a fear of water, yet lives on the ocean’s coast.

smile

     One of the highlights I thoroughly enjoy within this week is the time and focus an actor gives towards the choreography and blocking of each moment.  The students are given this opportunity during the long hours of rehearsal to really center in on those 4 W’s; the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHY of their character.  This week leading up to the opening performance holds some of the most exciting moments for the cast.  I look forward to seeing smiling faces on stage, and proud and supportive friends and family of every student on SCT’s stage.  The hard work towards their growth as young performing artists is most definitely something to applaud.  Let’s all and give a “Hurrah” for this coming weekend of performances: November 8th at 7:30pm and November 9th and 10th at 3:00pm! Click here for tickets!