This spring I helped my friend Jeff with a production class at school that produced Aladdin Jr. We are getting better and better at this whole production class thing. Each student was assigned to a production team… set, lights, props, costumes, publicity. This show was successful in getting students involved in the production process from beginning to end.
Students learned to be more empathetic. They learned to “think outside the box.” They came up with creative solutions. The students helped to produce a feast of the eyes with colors and shapes in the set, costumes and lights.
We were able to borrow this cool camel from a local high school.
The students learned more about character development through the use of character worksheets and a few acting exercises that gave us many options to help coach them through the acting process.
One of my favorite acting exercises was the day I assigned each actor a playing card. I told them that the card represented how they felt about themselves. I had them move about the acting space reacting to the others as they saw themselves. Then I I gave them a new card. This card they couldn’t look at, but they needed to hold it to their head. This time they were to react to others and where they card on their head indicated how they fell in society. I had them guess what their new card was based on the reactions of other toward them in the exercise. It was great for coaching crowd scenes because I could just yell, “first card.” and they would then react in the scene to reflect how they felt about themselves.
I could also use the cards to set acting levels – it was amazing! Suddenly it was much easier to create a pleasing stage picture.
As with all of the shows I work on, I learned, or was reminded of, some great life lessons.
Diamonds in the rough can be a girl’s best friend. Just because a person doesn’t have a royal personality doesn’t mean they aren’t a great person.
Sit back and enjoy the ride… in life, love, and in learning.
Say “I’m sorry” more often. We all need to learn to say “I’m sorry” more often. To be honest, it takes a special kind of person to “man up” and apologize for the mistakes they have made. All too often I see people make excuses or ignore people or situations in a desperate attempt to “save face.” You aren’t fooling anyone. You are still childish when you do that. “I’m sorry” goes a long way in mending relationships.
Get back into your groove after bad timing. Sometimes we get into the groove of life, and just when we think all is fabulous, life happens. When life’s little interruptions get in the way we need to remember where we got off track and get back into our groove.
If a shady character takes you to a creepy cave and tells you not to touch anything, it’s best to listen. This includes other people’s props. LOL.
Family is always and forever. Friends come and go, but family…. well, family is something we have forever so we need to learn to treat everyone with love and respect.
Honesty is the best policy. This is often a tough lesson to learn. Just think of the heartache and the trouble you can avoid if you were always truthful!
Freedom is important… and it’s worth fighting for!
Loyal counts! Even in friendship. There is comfort in knowing who your real friends are. The gift of a true and loyal friend is a gift to be cherished for life.
Be yourself! Don’t be who everyone else wants you to be. Be who you are! Nothing is better than that!
A diamond in the rough is still of great value! Just because people don’t see your current potential doesn’t mean it’s not true. Most of the time it is hidden behind a rough exterior.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You can’t tell who is talented just by there appearance.
Be flexible. sometimes we just have to roll with the punches.
Be extravagant! There is nothing wrong with some flair every once in awhile so work it!
Ask questions. If you are not sure what someone meant don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
You are greater than your situation. You must believe in yourself, even if others doubt you and discourage you.
Count your blessings! There are always people less fortunate than you.
Sometimes you need help from others. Aladdin needed Genie… Genie needed Aladdin. We all need each other to get the production off the ground. We all need each other to learn what we need to learn in life. Ensemble may just be the most important word in theater.
Save the last wish for the most important thing!
Women are not trophies. They are not possessions. Women deserve respect.
Stop wishing and start doing! It is only when we take a leap of faith, when we step into the darkness, that we truly can discover our destination.
You will make life long friends in the most unexpected places!
These friends will bring a magic into your life you never knew existed.
Such friends will have the unfailing ability to make you smile… and maybe even laugh ’til you drop.
Such friends will defend you to the death.
They will cheer you up…
… and cheer you on.
They won’t be afraid to put you in your place when you are a total pain in the butt… and still extend mercy and love beyond understanding.
This type of one-of-a-kind friend will remind you that there are much more important things in life than material things and public accolades.
These kind of friends remind you to be and encourage you to be your self because they know you are pretty freaking awesome just as you are.
These are the friends that encourage you to do the right thing, even if it’s the hardest thing you can imagine. Then, they stand by you as you do the right thing… because it’s the right thing to do.
Being this kind of friend is a two way street. This means that real friends put the needs of others before their own once in a while…
… because when you find a one-of-a-kind friend, your life will be irrevocably changed for the better!
And when the day comes that you must say good-bye it will be more like a “see you later.”
This was a super fun show. I am blessed to have the opportunity to get to know these students and to teach them a little about the passion I have for life and for learning and for the theatre arts. I will miss the senior and I look forward to seeing what life brings them next. I am also looking forward to the new adventures I will get to have with those who are left behind… especially with my friend Jeff who is like a Genie and constantly grants me wishes and opportunities in the theatre.