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Are you needing an exercise for your students and parents to participate together? Here’s a new lesson plan for your drama classroom using tableau as the springboard.
I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!
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*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*
Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?
*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*
Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!
*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*
*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*
Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?
Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.
Tabi: And why is that?
Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.
Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?
Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight. Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioning—my two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.
Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?
Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.
Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.
Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.
Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?
Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter ego—sarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.
Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?
Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.
Tabi: That’s a good kind of friend to have. And what about Peter?
Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.
*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*
Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!
*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*
Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?
Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.
Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?
Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?
Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?
Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song. One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it. Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time. I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.
Tabi: What about your favorite movie?
Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman. She’s awesome!
Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?
*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*
Bumbling Bea: Heck no.
*The Audience laughs*
Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.
*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*
Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?
Beatrice: I doubt it. His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know? I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.
Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?
Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?
Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.
Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?
Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.
Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?
Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!
*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*
Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.
*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*
Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.
Michiko: What are you doing?
Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.
Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.
*Michiko turns to Tabi*
Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?
Tabi: Why, no actually.
Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.
Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.
*Beatrice looks confused by this*
Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.
Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.
Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.
Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!
*Outro music begins*
Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!
Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DeborahBaldwin.net
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Tomorrow, it’s October! Yippee!
October is one of my most favorite months–the leaves begin to change to scarlet and gold, pumpkins are everywhere, the air is crisp.
When our daughters were children, we had a rule: you couldn’t talk about Halloween until September 1st. No drawing pictures of what your costume should be, negotiating for some extravagant costume piece, and NO buying Halloween candy.
Recently, I ran on to an article in the New York Times about the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume sale. Wow, that would have been a neat thing to see. I was in England in August and visited Stratford in Avon where the sale was held. If only I had visited a bit later…
Ball Gowns, Lace Ruffs and Fairy Wings: Theater History for Sale
By Holly Williams
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes of a great Shakespearean actor? Over the weekend, shoppers here in Shakespeare’s birthplace, which is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, had a chance to walk away with a piece of theatrical history, as the legendary company held a sale of 15,000 costumes and other items.
By the time the sale opened at 9 a.m. Saturday, a line snaked down the street; the first fans had arrived at 5 p.m. the previous day, camping out to secure a spot. Such patience was rewarded, and customers emerged clutching treasures, from the sublime — period ball gowns, lace ruffs, fairy wings — to the ridiculous — gold lamé lion tails and grotesque pig suits.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has the largest costume department in British theater, and it employs 30 members of staff, including experts in armor and millinery. The sale was raising money for the company’s Stitch in Time campaign, to renovate its costume workshop and to finance specialist apprenticeships. Around a third of its stock — items too worn or too specific to be reused — was on sale at bargain prices: from 50 pence, or 67 cents, for a fan to 30 pounds, or roughly $40, for a velvet cloak.
The life-span of Royal Shakespeare Company costumes, recycled across productions and for up to 100 performances, is among what makes them special, and every item has a sewn-in label identifying the actor who wore it last, and in which show. Beady-eyed rummagers could pick up Anita Dobson’s grubby underskirt from “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” or Joanna Vanderham’s silver gown from “Othello.” One happy shopper claimed to have found a dress worn by Jane Asher.
It can be bittersweet, however. “What makes this so emotional for someone like me — I put on my first R.S.C. costume in 1966 — are the name tags,” said the British actor Patrick Stewart, who fronted the Stitch in Time campaign. “I already found one item worn by a dear friend of mine, long gone.”
Indeed, among the armor, I came across a breastplate with “Tim Pigott-Smith” written on a label; the British actor died in April.
Even stars of Mr. Stewart’s caliber are not immune to feeling awe when taking on the mantle (at times literally) of acting giants. “I was once given a jacket which I did not really like,” Mr. Stewart said, adding that he had then seen from the label that it had been worn by Paul Scofield, a British actor who died in 2008.
“So of course I wore it,” he said. “Although it had to be cut down, because Paul was a much taller actor than I was, in every sense.”
Performers often highlight how vital costumes are, and by trying on a vast crinoline (used in the “Tempest”) and an absurdly heavy cloak (“Henry VIII”), I can understand why: They completely change the way you move and hold yourself.
“There were times when the costume had a significant impact on the work I would do on that character,” Mr. Stewart said, recalling the transformative effect of a luxurious pale gray three-piece suit worn for a modern-dress “Merchant of Venice” in 2011 — “which I should have stolen because it fitted me so well.”
I unearthed a kitsch, frothy wedding dress from the same production, worn by Susannah Fielding as Portia. Indeed, a whole rail of wedding dresses were available to make wedding days extra special — once they’ve had a good clean, at least.
Outside, members of the public emerged enchanted with their hauls. Jenkin Van Zyl, whose parents drove up from London so that he could fill their car, went on quite a spree: “I only wear theater costumes,” he said. “So I just came to top up, but I didn’t realize how cheap and amazing the sale was going to be. I spent £800.”
Shelley Bolderson from Cambridge, England, also wears costumes in her daily life. She said she had been delighted to find a coat made from pages of a book, created for the dancing satyrs in the 2009 production of “The Winter’s Tale.”
“I just hope it won’t dissolve in the rain,” she said.
The sale is also a godsend for amateur theater groups. Miriam Davies, from Stamford, England, is a costume designer for a company specializing in Shakespeare.
“You can’t really miss something like this,” she said. “Having R.S.C. costumes is a special thing — it’s history.”
I’m readying for the upcoming auditions for my next directing project, Beauty and the Beast with a wonderful company Theatre Lawrence. Previously, I blogged a list of secrets to a good audition. So, I brought this one out of the moth balls for you!
You knew this subject was coming, didn’t you? It only seems natural to speak about how I make decisions about casting someone in a play.
Remember, these are only my opinions. Someone else will have a different viewpoint, obviously.
Here is my advice (and secrets) to landing the part:
1. Arrive on time for the auditions and stay until they are finished. If you arrive late or are in a rush to leave early, it implies that the production is not that important to you.
2. Dress appropriately for the audition. If you are auditioning for a musical and there are going to be dance auditions, either bring the right shoe wear or wear them. There is nothing more distracting to a director than observing someone flop around in the wrong shoes as they attempt to dance or move about the stage. And ladies, you hair needs to be swept back away from your face and controlled with a bobby pin or something.
3. Read the script prior to auditions. Now reading the script ahead of time does not guarantee you a part in the production, but most scripts are very well written (that’s why they are produced) and worth your time to read. Or at least watch a movie version of the play or musical if there is one available. My guess is some people don’t read the entire script before auditioning because they don’t want to commit their free time because if they aren’t cast, it feels like they have wasted their time. One hasn’t wasted their time. They have enriched it.
I try to be patient with people who haven’t read the script ahead of time, but secretly nothing is more frustrating than having someone say to me, “So, what’s this play about?” I don’t have the time to explain the story to them nor do I think it is my job to do so.
4. Pay attention during the auditions. If the auditions aren’t closed and you are able to observe them, watch other actors. You never know when a director might call you up to read with someone and if you pay attention you are ready to go.
5. A director doesn’t need to know if you have a cold or don’t feel well, or whatever the excuse might be at the moment. So, don’t announce your maladies–just audition confidently. A director will ask the actor to call backs if he thinks he needs to hear the actor once the cold or illness is over.
6. If you mark on your audition sheet that you will accept any role you are offered, please tell the truth. Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to cast someone and afterward they announce they won’t accept the role you gave them (since the person wanted another one instead.) Tacky! And, if the accused auditions for another one of the director’s plays, chances are the actor won’t even be considered them based on their past actions.
7. If you mark on your audition sheet that you have no conflicts, then a director expects you to have no conflicts! Avoiding informing the director of a few conflicts and spinning that you have none then coming back later with a litany of conflicts does nothing for the actor’s relationship with the director. Better to tell the truth and let the director work around the conflicts if he thinks he can do so. An actor’s behavior gets around in a theater community very quickly, so just be honest and up front.
8. Sometimes a director will put out the word that they are looking for a particular age actor for a role. It is not wise to try and make yourself up to look half your age if you aren’t really able to convince your best friend of your age change. If your friend thinks you look silly trying to be twenty-five when you are fifty-five, then believe them. Audition for a play that suits your age range.
If you are an adult, you can usually appear ten years either direction of your age. Children and teen agers are a bit different in this regard. Personally, I am more likely to cast someone who is taller and thirteen to play a sixteen year old than a short thirteen year old to play a ten year old.
9. No matter what, always finish your audition with a thank you and get the heck off the stage. An actor trying to make conversation with the director can come across as a desperate attempt for attention. If the director initiates the conversation, then I think it is safe to chat a moment with him or her. But I wouldn’t begin the conversation. Directors are usually considering many things during auditions, so it’s best not to interrupt them.
10. Be confident in your audition. If you audition with others and someone does something that is comical (and the director reacts by laughing), it does not mean you must do the same thing if you read the same part. Be yourself. Be clever and memorable, but don’t behave in such a manner that you make others feel uncomfortable by your audition. In other words, keep your clothes on, keep your mouth clean and be polite.
10. The biggest secret to auditions? Listen to what the director asks of you. I am more likely to cast someone who honestly tries to do what I ask of him (such as lowering the pitch of his voice, trying an unusual laugh or reaction), than someone who has a preconceived vision of the character and can not or will not budge from that idea. Also, I really don’t like it when an actor just imitates someone else portraying the role–either someone else at the auditions or someone they have seen portray the role in the film version, for example. Generally, if I don’t think the inflexible person can adapt themselves to my needs, then I can’t cast them. Simple as that.
I hope this helps you. I would love to answer any other questions you might have about auditions, so send them on. P.S. If you’d like to audition for Beauty and the Beast, go here for information http://www.theatrelawrence.com/index.html
Contact me at email@example.com or DeborrahBaldwin.net
Oh my, James Corden is the voice of Peter Rabbit in a new film!
Everyone’s favorite rambunctious rabbit finds new life as a party animal in the first trailer for the live-action/animated comedy “Peter Rabbit.”
The film stars James Corden as the the titular mischievous bunny whose feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates as they rival for the affections of the animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). The film also stars Sam Neill and features the voices of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as his triplets Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.
The trailer shows Peter and his furry friends raiding Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden and trashing his home in a wild party, then frantically dispersing when the farmer returns home unexpectedly. The critter exudes so much charm that even a fox who previously tried to eat him is a welcome party guest.
The movie is based on the character from Beatrix Potter’s children’s book series. Peter Rabbit first appeared in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1902 and the series has since sold more than 150 million copies worldwide in 35 languages.
The film is directed by Will Gluck who also wrote the screenplay with Rob Lieber. Gluck’s previous directing work includes “Easy A,” “Friends With Benefits,” and the 2014 remake of “Annie.” Lieber has previously written the screenplay for “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
“Peter Rabbit” hits theaters on Feb. 9, 2018.
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/travel/bored-your-international-flight-icelandair-just-tried-live-theater-n800956I LOVE unique ideas. Do you?
How about this one–live theatre performed on a long airplane flight.
Even with a kooky safety video and a variety of film offerings, long flights can still be boring.
But Icelandair is trying something new: An 11-hour immersive theater production took place last week on a flight from London to New York, with an on-the-ground bonus performance during the layover in Reykjavik.
“We’ve made theater in unusual places but never made a show that started in one country, bounced to another, and ended up in a third on the same day,” said Kate Hargreaves, Founder of Gideon Reeling, the London-based theater company that helped develop the program.
The cast was a mix of professional actors along with pilots, engineers, accountants, ground workers, cabin crew, and other real airline employees who had volunteered to attend a special stage school to prepare for the event.
The characters they played ranged from film stars and flight attendants from various decades to business and leisure travelers, a perky party planner, a vulcanologist, and a farmer — as well as flight attendants from the past, present, and future.
And the performance, which reeled out in entertaining, story-filled, one-on-one encounters at check-in, at the gate and during the flight, hopscotched through time, with some actors playing multiple characters.
There were even a few sing-a-longs and several Icelandic-themed meals during the “Ahead in Time” performance.
Passengers met and had an opportunity to interact with Maria, dressed in a stylish suit from the 1950s, who said she’d be flying the plane; Richie and Cynthia, hippies from the 1960s who met on the road and were hoping to get to Woodstock; Alex, an exuberant, if disorganized, backpacker from the 1990s in search of his passport; and numerous grandchildren and other far-flung relatives of Edda Johnson, a world traveler and former Icelandair flight attendant who had invited everyone to her birthday party but (spoiler alert) was too busy traveling the world to show up.
Icelandair’s one-off immersive in-flight performance (and a series of on-the-ground events in Iceland over the next six months) was sparked by a recent UK-based study in which the majority of air travelers reported being bored during their flights. Three quarters of the study participants thought the people on the plane, especially the cabin crew, could have a greater hand in making the flight more enjoyable.
Responding to that research, “Our program aims to transform wasted time while traveling into time well-traveled,” said Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Guðnason, “We’re pleased to pioneer a new form of entertainment and value-added service for passengers.”
‘Hippies’ on Icelandair’s immersive theatrical performance. Harriet Baskas
“That notion of offering passengers some sort of ‘surprise and delight’ is great,” said travel industry expert Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research, but he notes some passengers would rather use their in-flight time to work, rest, relax, and make their own choices for entertainment.
Still, Harteveldt approves of Icelandair’s effort to be creative and stand out from other airlines, especially as the competition for flights to and through Iceland from WOW air and other airlines heats up.
And while live theater in the aisles might be seen by some as a negative in the air, Harteveldt believes the airline’s Stopover Pass program, which gives passengers entry to special art, culture, and sporting events through April 2018, can be a huge positive on the ground.
“I applaud them for thinking of different ways to distinguish themselves, offering this value-added amenity so that passengers see Icelandair as passenger-centric,” he said.
Contact me at dhcbaldwin.net or Deborahbaldwin.net
I am so excited! Bumbling Bea has been nominated for best YA / middle grade book. PLEASE VOTE,will you? The most votes, wins! https://www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting